TORONTO – Something had to give between the San Jose Sharks and Toronto Maple Leafs Thursday night at the Air Canada Centre. The two teams haven’t particularly enjoyed the month of February.
It was the Sharks who were able to snap a four-game losing streak with a 2-1 win while the Leafs have now lost three in a row and won only four games in February.
While the Sharks had given up 18 goals in their four previous games, a scoreless first period built up their confidence the rest of the way.
“Obviously the way we’ve been playing, giving up goals it was good to get out of the period without giving up anything,” said Patrick Marleau, who had both of the Sharks’ goals Thursday. “That felt good and I think we had everybody into the game.”
The Sharks have two games left on their current eight-game road trip. The win over Toronto gives them a chance to salvage a split of the games on their longest road trip of the season.
Heading into Thursday’s game, the Sharks shared the lead in the Pacific Division with the Phoenix Coyotes at 69 points with the Sharks having two games in hand over the Coyotes. The Los Angeles Kings aren’t far off the pace just three points back.
“They’re just two huge points for this time of year,” said captain Joe Thornton, who admitted that the last few days haven’t been particularly relaxing for the group. “Especially when we have been struggling a bit to play defensive hockey like we did.
“The way we’ve been winning all year is good defensive hockey so to get back to that was huge.”
After a game in Nashville Saturday night, the Sharks conclude their road trip the next day in Minnesota before finishing off February back at home against Philadelphia in the first of four games at home.