Preview: Sharks Welcome Maple Leafs to San Jose

The San Jose Sharks and Toronto Maple Leafs conclude their season series tonight in San Jose with the final of their two meetings. In their first game back in December, Sharks defenseman Justin Braun scored his first goal of the campaign to help erase a third-period deficit and force extra time. Logan Couture went on to score the only goal in the shootout to give San Jose the victory in Toronto.

Mitch Marner, Toronto Maple Leafs, NHL, Hockey Day in Canada
(Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports)

The Leafs sit in the final wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference. Their 69 points are one ahead of the New York Islanders, and the entire conference is within 11 points of eighth seed Toronto. The Sharks remain in the driver’s seat in the Pacific Division, five points ahead of the Anaheim Ducks.

Maple Leafs Tinker With Roster

If the playoffs started today, the Maple Leafs would hold the eighth and final spot out in the Eastern Conference. The Toronto brain trust added the versatile Brian Boyle from the Tampa Bay Lightning to bolster the center position.

Sharks fans will also get their first live look at rookie phenom Auston Matthews, currently leading Toronto with 54 points, including 30 goals. He is closely followed by Mitch Marner, who might not play tonight in San Jose, at 48 points. Defenseman Jake Gardiner is on a four-game point streak with two goals and five assists over that span.

The Maple Leafs are coming off a loss to their eternal rival, the Montreal Canadiens, who beat the Leafs for the 14th straight time. Toronto will not have an easier time of it against the Sharks: The Maple Leafs are 1-10-0-0 in their last 11 games against San Jose.

San Jose Pacing the Pacific Division

The Sharks continue to lead the Pacific Division with a win over the Vancouver Canucks after San Jose’s bye week. The Sharks are hoping they did not pick up a case of the mumps along with the two points they brought with them from Vancouver.

San Jose also is rumored to be kicking the tires on a few players ahead of the NHL trade deadline tomorrow. Depth on the wing and (strangely) backup goaltending continue to be the positions the Sharks are said to be looking to improve before rosters are set tomorrow.

The Sharks will make a minor tweak to their roster for tonight’s game, inserting speedy winger Marcus Sorensen into the line-up. Sorensen has been on fire for the San Jose Barracuda with six goals and nine assists in his last ten games. He’s spent time with the Sharks as the extra forward (read: a healthy scratch) but will play his third NHL game tonight, likely on the third line.

Toronto Maple Leafs at San Jose Sharks

SAP Center – 7:30 p.m. PST

Broadcast channels – CSN-CA, SNO

Radio: Sharks Radio Network

2016-17 Season Series: 

Dec. 13: Sharks 3 – Maple Leafs 2 (SO)

San Jose Sharks – 36-18-7 (79 Points)

Home Record: 18-7-4

Hot Players: Brent Burns, David Schlemko, Patrick Marleau

Key Injuries: Dylan DeMelo, Joonas Donskoi

Projected Lines:


Kevin Labanc – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski

Patrick Marleau – Logan Couture – Mikkel Boedker

Marcus Sorensen – Tomas Hertl – Joel Ward

Micheal Haley – Chris Tierney – Melker Karlsson


Paul Martin – Brent Burns

Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun

Brenden Dillon – David Schlemko

Starting Goaltender:

Martin Jones

Toronto Maple Leafs – 28-20-13 –69 Points

Road Record: 13-10-7

Hot Players: Jake Gardiner

Key Injuries: Joffrey Lupul, Mitch Marner

Projected lines:


Zach Hyman – Auston Matthews – William Nylander

James van Riemsdyk – Tyler Bozak – Mitch Marner

Leo Komarov – Nazem Kadri – Connor Brown

Matt Martin – Brian Boyle – Josh Leivo


Morgan Rielly – Nikita Zaitsev

Jake Gardiner – Alexey Marchenko

Matt Hunwick – Roman Polak

Starting Goaltender:

Frederik Andersen

Toronto Maple Leafs, Frederik Andersen
Andersen made 37 saves in the shootout loss to the Rangers. (Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports)


Game Notes

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]1)[/miptheme_dropcap]Brent Burns season continues to be the best on the Sharks and in the NHL among defenseman. Burns leads San Jose in goals (27), assists (38), points (65), plus/minus (+21), time on-ice (24:54) and shots on goal (246). Burns’ 65 points put him tied for third with Patrick Kane in the NHL scoring race, behind only Connor McDavid (71) and Sidney Crosby (67).

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]2)[/miptheme_dropcap]Patrick Marleau’s has goals in two straight games and continues to be a hot hand for the Sharks. Marleau recorded the game-winning goal against the Canucks and currently has 22 goals on the year.

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]3)[/miptheme_dropcap]With two goals against Montreal, Auston Matthews became the only the third rookie in Maple Leafs history to score 30 goals in a season.

(Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports)

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]4)[/miptheme_dropcap]Roman Polak is Toronto’s active leader in games played (25), assists (5), points (7), penalty minutes (12) against the San Jose Sharks. Polak joined San Jose at the last trade deadline and appeared in 48 games for the Sharks, 24 in both the regular season and playoffs, before returning to the Maple Leafs as a free agent this past summer.

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]5)[/miptheme_dropcap]The San Jose Sharks have a franchise mark of  21-20-5-0 all-time against the Maple Leafs.