Maple Leafs In Tough Against The Sharks
MAPLE LEAFS (35-23-8) at SHARKS (41-17-7)
TV: SNET-O, CSN-CA, Sportsnet 590 The FAN
Last 10: Toronto 6-2-2; San Jose 7-2-1
Season series: This is the second and final game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and San Jose Sharks. San Jose earned a 4-2 victory against the Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre on Dec. 3.
Big story: Toronto, winners of three straight, continues its three-game trip through California after earning an impressive victory against the Anaheim Ducks on Monday night. San Jose, which has won back-to-back games, has lost four games in regulation at home all season (24-4-4).
Maple Leafs: Toronto coach Randy Carlyle hadn't been back at Honda Center since the Anaheim Ducks relieved him of his duties in 2011, but his players made sure it was a happy homecoming.
Jonathan Bernier was spectacular in a 43-save performance, and Tyler Bozak and Phil Kessel each had a goal and two assists in a 3-1 victory. The Maple Leafs, who opened a three-game California trip, improved to 14-3-3 in their past 20 games. Thirty-four of Bernier's saves came over the last two periods, and his teammates blocked another 24 shots.
"That was our main focus coming here," said Bernier, who could face his former team, the Los Angeles Kings, on Thursday. "We know it's a tough building. Well, tomorrow and L.A. as well. They're all tough buildings. But we proved to ourselves that we can compete against any team in this league."
Sharks: San Jose will be seeking its third straight win after it beat the Montreal Canadiens 4-0 on Saturday at SAP Center. The Sharks will wrap up a four-game homestand Tuesday; they are 2-0-1 thus far and 6-1-1 in their past eight games overall.
Despite the firepower they possess up front, the Sharks have struggled on the power play. San Jose has converted twice with the man advantage in its past 48 opportunities, a span of 15 games.
"We need it to be better than what it is, because in the playoffs, we'll need it," defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic told CSNBayArea.com. "We can always rely on our penalty kill and our 5-on-5, but the power play creates momentum. If the other team wants to take liberties or take a penalty, we've got to make them pay. Playoffs, it's huge. You make them pay and you might win the series."
Who's hot: Kessel has 12 points (four goals, eight assists) in his past eight games. Bozak has three goals and two assists in his past three. … Sharks forward Tommy Wingels scored twice Saturday, giving him three points in the past two games.
Injury report: Maple Leafs forwards David Clarkson (leg injury) and Colton Orr (undisclosed) did not play Monday and remain questionable. Center David Bolland (ankle injury) remains on injured reserve. … Sharks defenseman Brad Stuart (upper body) is day-to-day. Forward Tomas Hertl (knee) is skating, but remains out indefinitely.