Maple Leafs beat Sharks 4-1, spoiling Marleau's return
Morgan Rielly broke a tie with 5:29 left and the Maple Leafs beat the San Jose Sharks 4-1 on Friday night. Toronto was 1-2-1 in its previous four games, losing in overtime loss to Columbus on Monday night and falling at Boston on Tuesday night.
"We were motivated," Rielly said. "When you look back at our past couple games, there's room for improvement. We're aware of that, we talked about that, been pretty open about that."
The 40-year-old Marleau spent the last two seasons with the Maple Leafs. He waived his no-movement clause to facilitate a trade with the Carolina Hurricanes, who tried to convince him to join them, but was bought out and ended back in San Jose on a one-year deal.
Kevin Labanc scored for San Jose, and Martin Jones stopped 23 shots.
"We put ourselves in a position to win," Sharks captain Logan Couture said. "You're going to have nights like tonight where you're not feeling it and you're not getting much offensively."
On the winner, Rielly took a pass from William Nylander off the rush and went upstairs on Jones.
"Just an all-around group effort," Rielly said. "It's important that we focus on that moving forward ... and try to do it again."
With Jones off for an extra attacker. Kasperi Kapanen inexplicably missed the empty net from in tight, but Mikheyev iced it with 47.5 seconds left. Matthews then scored his ninth with Jones back in goal.
Matthews took a big hit from defenseman Brenden Dillon midway through the second period after delivering a pass at the offensive blue line. The Toronto center finished his shift and drew a tripping penalty, but headed to the locker room after returning to the bench. Matthews returned for the third period.
"I felt like it was a hit to the head," Matthews said. "It's a fast game. Refs are trying to make the best judgment, but I know what I felt."We picked up two points. It's all that matters."
NOTES: San Jose was coming off a 4-2 victory in Montreal on Thursday night. ... Marleau was honored with a video tribute during the first television timeout. ... Toronto was 0 for 5 on the power play.
Sharks: At Ottawa on Sunday night.
Maple Leafs: At Montreal on Saturday night.