SAN JOSE, Calif. – After enjoying the chance to watch Toronto beat Anaheim, the San Jose Sharks took advantage of a tired Maple Leafs team to move closer to the Ducks in the standings.
Joe Pavelski had two goals and an assist and passed the 400-point milestone for his career to lead San Jose to a third straight victory, 6-2 over Toronto on Tuesday night.
“It was a moment where they play yesterday and we come out and we want to get on top of them a little bit and catch them a little tired,” Pavelski said. “We were able to get the lead early.”
Tommy Wingels added a goal, an assist and a fight for the Sharks, who moved within two points of Anaheim for first place in the Pacific Division. Brent Burns, Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Marty Havlat added goals. Antti Niemi made 19 saves.
Jake Gardiner scored twice for the Maple Leafs, who looked worn down one night after an emotional 3-1 win over the Ducks in coach Randy Carlyle’s return to Anaheim. James Reimer made 42 saves.
“It seemed like there was one puck and they had it,” Carlyle said. “We didn’t get a chance to play with it.”
Pavelski scored San Jose’s final two goals to give him 34 for the season as he got the best of his matchup against his U.S. Olympic linemates Phil Kessel and James Van Riemsdyk. The two Toronto stars combined for a minus-7 rating going against lines centred by Logan Couture and Joe Thornton, and Van Riemsdyk was flattened on a hit by teammate Dion Phaneuf.
“They played a lot in Anaheim last night so we wanted to wear them down,” Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. “We felt that we could go at them with two lines, both Cooch and Jumbo’s. It didn’t really matter.”
The Sharks took over the game with a dominant second period in which they put 15 of the first 16 shots on net and scored the only two goals.
Wingels got it started when he flattened Peter Holland with a hard check in the defensive zone and then got in position to deflect Justin Braun’s point shot off the ensuing rush for his 15th goal.
Just 1:19 later, the Sharks went up 4-1 when Pavelski took a pass from Thornton and beat Reimer, giving him 400 NHL points.
The Maple Leafs struggled to generate any scoring chances. Mason Raymond was unable to get off a shot on a breakaway attempt, and Toronto put no shots on goal during its first power play.
“From the beginning we weren’t ready to play,” Gardiner said. “We gave up two pretty quick ones and no one really played well. Their top two lines are as good as most teams’ first lines.”
About the only facet of the game that didn’t go well for the Sharks was their struggling power play, which failed to convert on six chances and is 2-for-54 over the past 17 games. Even a two-man advantage for 1:34 late in the second period couldn’t do the trick but it didn’t matter as San Jose was firmly in control.
The Sharks also allowed a short-handed goal by Gardiner in the third period.
It was an action-packed first period that featured three goals, two replay reviews and one fight as San Jose took a 2-1 lead on goals by Vlasic and Burns.
In one dizzying 28-second stretch, the Sharks took the lead when Matt Nieto took the puck away from Gardiner behind the net and fed Vlasic in the high slot for a slap shot that made it 1-0 with his first goal in 37 games.
Just 25 seconds later, Gardiner made up for his mistake when he scored on a give-and-go with Raymond following a turnover in the offensive zone by Havlat.
On the ensuing faceoff, former Maple Leafs enforcer Mike Brown fought Troy Bodie.
The Sharks had one apparent goal by Wingels waved off when referee Dave Jackson ruled he intended to blow the whistle before Wingels poked in a loose puck.
“I thought it was a good goal, but I guess they didn’t see it that way,” Wingels said. “But the team responded after that. You can get frustrated and kind of sulk about it or react the way our team did and that’s to score a few more after that. It was a good response.”
Just minutes later, Jackson waved off another apparent goal by Burns before being overruled on replay.
NOTES: Vlasic was plus-5 for the game. … Sharks F Raffi Torres missed the game with soreness. … Maple Leafs D Cody Franson was scratched because he was sick.