The San Jose Sharks got just what they wanted Tuesday night: a late win to maintain their cushion in the Pacific Division and a key player to provide a boost for their playoff push.
Tomas Hertl scored the tiebreaking goal with 1:24 remaining and the Sharks beat the Toronto Maple Leafs for the ninth straight time, 3-1 on Tuesday night.
San Jose made news off the ice as well, announcing a trade during the second intermission to acquire forward Jannik Hansen from Vancouver for prospect Nikolay Goldobin and a conditional draft pick. The trade deadline in Wednesday.
“He’s going to help us,” forward Logan Couture said. “He’s a guy that’s very difficult to play against as someone who is on the ice. He’s got speed. He’s a guy that fits in our lineup and I think this team, this organization, is in win-now mode. So it’s a great pickup.”
Patrick Marleau started the winning play when he skated in alone on three defenders. Marleau fed Hertl, who then beat Frederik Andersen with a quick shot to the short side for his eighth goal of the season.
“I wasn’t sure if it was in, but Patty made a great play to hold the puck and free guys in the O-zone,” Hertl said. “He gives the pass and I just shoot and score.”
Brenden Dillon also scored and Joe Pavelski added an empty-netter off Joe Thornton’s 999th career assist to help the first-place Sharks snap a three-game home losing streak to remain five points ahead of second-place Edmonton in the Pacific Division. Martin Jones made 20 saves.
But the Sharks were just as excited about their new addition. Hansen is a speedy winger who adds depth for San Jose.
“Anytime you’re a team that’s adding pieces like that and guys that can come in and help, it’s encouraging and it’s a confidence booster for us,” Dillon said. “We put ourselves in a good position to get this, and obviously Hansen will come in and do well.”
Rookie Auston Matthews scored his 31st goal for the Maple Leafs to start a crucial three-game California swing. Toronto has a one-point lead over Florida and the Islanders for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Andersen made 34 saves but couldn’t come up with the key one late.
“It’s a tough way to end a game,” he said. “We were close to getting a point at least and having a chance to win it. Tough last play there. You hate to see it happen.”
The Sharks had the better of the chances in a scoreless first period, but Andersen stopped all 13 shots he faced, including Joel Ward all alone from in close on a power play.
“He’s been great for us,” Matthews said. “We have to be better for him. A lot of times they’re getting in front of him and creating odd-man situations down low and he’s coming up big for us.”
The Leafs then used their top-ranked power play to strike first in the second. With Justin Braun in the box, Toronto capitalized on a missed hip check by Brent Burns on a zone entry by William Nylander. Josh Leivo then slid the loose puck to Matthews in the slot, and he beat Jones to make it 1-0.
The Sharks tied it later in the period when Kevin Labanc set up Dillon for a slap shot from the top of the circle to beat Andersen.
NOTES: Sharks coach Peter DeBoer won his 300th game as an NHL coach. ... Marner returned to the lineup after missing five games with an apparent right shoulder injury. ... F Brian Boyle made his debut for the Leafs, a day after being acquired in a trade from Tampa Bay.
Maple Leafs: Visit Los Angeles on Thursday.
Sharks: Host Vancouver on Thursday.Report Typo/Error