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Notes #20: Leafs Send Sharks Packing 4-1

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Period One

The San Jose Sharks are facing a stiff test tonight: Too many micro-stats to go through, but the Toronto Maple Leafs are top-ten in most of them. Skilled team, but they also seem to play a good team game, at least in the regular season.

Nylander goal: Awful team defense by the Sharks. No way Nylander should be that open. I see Gregor as the high forward, he doubles up on Rielly skating it out, which is OK, but once Rielly gives up puck, Gregor needs to identify the possibilities. That’s two Leafs, Middleton goes to Tavares, nobody gets Nylander. You can argue Middleton should’ve saw impending two-on-one and stayed patient too. But I think Gregor as high forward has to identify situation brewing on far side of ice with Nylander.

Bonino goal: Good work on the wall by Bonino after a quick Karlsson stretch. Karlsson also does nice job playing Semyonov who’s trying to dump it past him. Bonino doesn’t have speed to do a lot on entry, but keeping it alive with two Leafs on him? Great work. Gregor good work to keep it alive too.

Simmonds goal: If you’re Simek and you’re going to front (instead of taking Simmonds one on one in front, which is fine), you want to block that soft Kampf shot. Clever play by Kampf though.

Nine in: Under pressure in DZ, that’s not the play by Barabanov, a pure hope backhand up the middle. Turnover, of course. Go up the wall. You lose it — always better there than up the middle.

Ten in: High-skill keep-in by Couture. Next shift, Labanc lays it on a carpet in the slot for Gadjovich. Woll save.

Nine left: Incredible Barabanov dangle on Simmonds back — does AB have a bone to pick with his old team? He’s had a step to start.

Eight left: Good team D on Nylander, Sharks collapse in slot.

Six left: Liljegren survives, but the youngster gets taught a lesson about the speed and insistence of an NHL forecheck by Cogliano. Next shift, Gregor does nice job, quick first step to win puck in corner. I like that from him.

Five left: Good hustle by Balcers, Karlsson clear, he’s about to beat d-men to puck, Woll gets rattled and shoots it into crowd.

Minute left: Great stick by Burns to deny entry. Late, perfect bounce stretch to Gregor. Strong shift.

Period Two

The San Jose Sharks played the Leafs pretty even there, methinks. Natural Stat Trick has it 7-4 Scoring Chances, 3-2 High-Danger at five-on-five. Sharks will probably rue not doing much with their power plays there though. SPORTLOGiQ did like it more for the Leafs — 5-3 Slot Shots, 4-1 Odd-Man Rushes. That’s All Situations, suggesting once again that the Sharks dropped ball with dull PPs.

One in: Not a great Timo pass, DZ breakout up middle. Got to be one hundred percent on those. Maybe being too hard on Meier, now he’s ascended up the Sharks’ trust ranks. But I’ve found his execution of small but key things wanting last two games.

Four in: Barabanov got to hit that breakout pass up middle to Balcers. Missed detail plays, basics, are killers — and yup, Leafs take puck, spin cycle, back of the net. That’s a shift that Sharks are hard-pressed to match in terms of skill, ability to play keep away.

Hill comes in for Reimer — but hard to blame Reimer tonight.

Six left: Labanc had a marvelous shift. Decisive exit area pass, hops in a place Nieto can contest in OZ. Labanc next forward in, claims the TOR rim. Finds Simek weakside for one-timer.

Two left: Again, the small plays. It looks like Simek in-tight pass to Gadjovich, both up high, too hard, clanks off Gadjovich’s stick to Leaf, Nylander breakaway. Hill stop.

Period Three

Four in: Nifty backhand NZ pass through Leaf by Gregor to Burns. He’s playing for a spot, like that.

Eight left: Mark of a night where San Jose Sharks looked like Bad News Bears after first. Couture attacking, it looks like he just loses balance, little pressure. Just that kind of night.

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[…] Statistically, the San Jose Sharks were outmatched heading into their meeting with the Toronto Maple Leafs. But that is why you play the game. Unfortunately, sloppy play saw the Leafs take control of the game, getting to James Remier, who was eventually pulled. Here are the game notes from the loss. (San Jose Hockey Now) […]

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