Evander Kane scored two goals to give the San Jose Sharks their first three-game winning streak since November with a 5-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday night.
“We obviously haven’t had the type of success we wanted this year for whatever reason,” Kane said. “You look at us on paper, even with some of the guys that are gone, we’re a pretty darned good team on paper. We just have to put it together. ... We just want to finish the year off on a strong note and put a little reminder out there that we’re still the San Jose Sharks. We’re going to be tough to beat.”
Stefan Noesen got the tiebreaking goal early in the third period and Kane added an insurance tally 50 seconds later to give the Sharks three straight wins for the first time since Nov. 21-25. Antti Suomela also scored and Radim Simek added an empty-netter.
Martin Jones made 25 saves for the Sharks, who remain in 13th place in the Western Conference.
Auston Matthews scored his 46th goal of the season and assisted on a dazzling goal by Mitch Marner, but Toronto failed to get its first four-game winning streak since December. Jack Campbell stopped 33 shots.
The game turned early in the third thanks to a fortunate bounce for San Jose. Suomela’s shot was stopped by Campbell, but the rebound caromed off the back boards to Noesen, who knocked it in to make it 3-2.
“I feel responsible for this one,” Campbell said. “When the second intermission came around I thought we had weathered the storm. But I wasn’t able to shut the door on them. That’s the bottom line.”
Then after Jones made a big save at the other end to preserve the lead, Kane scored his 24th goal of the season on a 2-on-1 rush.
“They just kept coming and coming and a lot of times we just had no push back,” Matthews said. “So it was tough to get stuff going our way. We just got cut out and they just continued to play and push into our zone and forced us to tire ourselves out.”
The Sharks controlled play in the second period but still were unable to head into the third with a lead thanks to a highlight-reel goal by Marner.
The Maple Leafs were outshot 18-6 in the second but scored on two of those attempts, with Matthews beating Mario Ferraro to a rebound of Martin Marincin’s point shot to tie the game at 1.
Suomela answered 66 seconds later when he banked a shot from behind the goal-line off Campbell and into the net. But San Jose couldn’t add onto that lead despite peppering Campbell with shots.
Toronto nearly tied it while short-handed, but Jones robbed Zach Hyman on a rebound attempt. Jones had little chance against Marner late in the period.
Matthews slid a pass to Marner, who deftly played the puck between his legs to elude Brent Burns and then beat Jones with a backhand to the delight of the large contingent of Toronto fans.
The Sharks got the only goal in the first period when Kane deflected a shot by Burns on the power play for his 23rd of the season.
Jones stopped all 14 shots he faced early to keep San Jose in the game.
“He looks like a confident goaltender in there,” interim coach Bob Boughner said. “There were a few chances – the game could have been very, very different. The momentum could have shifted to Toronto’s favour if it wasn’t for Jonesy making a couple big saves.”
Maple Leafs: Visit Los Angeles on Thursday.
Sharks: Host Minnesota on Thursday.
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