Maple Leafs struggled little in the loss to the Sharks

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There’s no other way to sum up the Maple Leafs’ effort Friday night at Scotiabank Arena.

Facing a San Jose Sharks team that was finishing a set in a row and playing for the third time in four nights, the Leafs not only didn’t make life difficult for the visitors, but they failed to gain an advantage against a club. that he could have used fatigue as an outlet.

The result was a 5-3 victory for the Sharks, who are in the middle of a five-game trip, before a crowd of 18,603.

The Leafs, who had not played since Monday, talked during the week about being busier in the offensive zone, and that didn’t happen.

Sharks goalie Adin Hill finished with 30 saves, with just a handful of the difficult range.

“The way they play, they really keep everyone on the outside, they just control the center of the ice and I don’t think we did a good enough job to generate opportunities, Grade A scoring opportunities on the inside,” he said. Leafs’ Auston Matthews said after their second game.


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“There are a lot of things we can look back on and personally it was not my best performance. I’m just trying to find my way and get back into the groove and go from there.

“I think we could all be better.”

Few Leafs brought consistency anything close to passion, and the club is now heading for a three-game road trip with a mediocre 2-2-1 record.

The Leafs departed after the game for Pittsburgh, where they will play the Penguins on Saturday night before making stops at Carolina on Monday and Chicago on Wednesday.

Michael Hutchinson wasn’t great at the net, but he didn’t get much help in his 2021-22 regular season debut. He made 26 saves.

Winger Nick Ritchie, mostly ineffective with zero points in the first five games, was benched before falling to the fourth row.


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Then there’s Mitch Marner, who had a shot on goal. Marner, if he’s not following up at home, he has an assist to start the season.

It is paid quite generously to produce a great deal more.

Ritchie was benched for part of the first period and then for the last eight minutes of the second after Erik Karlsson gave the Sharks a 3-2 lead.

“I think you’re looking at it the wrong way,” Keefe said when asked why Ritchie didn’t see the ice. “They sign us up. For me it was more about the fact that the line didn’t go.

“You could be asking as many questions about Matthews and Marner today as you are about Ritchie.

“You can tell the line of questions I’ve been getting for the last few days that we want to pile on about Nick Ritchie. Let’s not narrow the focus too much. “


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Fine, but it was Ritchie who rode the handstand, not Marner or Matthews (not that we’d suggest that Matthews sits down, considering he’s just back).

Jonathan Dahlen put the Sharks up by two goals when he scored within 25 seconds of the third, and the Leafs moved closer to one when captain John Tavares scored at 13:39.

San Jose captain Logan Couture quenched the Leafs’ hope of a comeback, scoring on an empty net with 40 seconds left.

After a goalless first period, the clubs combined for five goals in a span of nine minutes, 24 seconds in the second.

Couture opened the scoring at 2:31 and Jason Spezza responded during a fight at 3:27. But 17 seconds later, Timo Meier beat Hutchinson from an angle that should have resulted in a save.


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Ondrej Kase’s first goal as Leaf came on a breakaway at 10:24 after he blocked a shot. Kase controlled the puck and threw his backhand for his first goal since February 4, 2020, when he was with Anaheim.

The Sharks regained a one-goal lead when Karlsson prepared a shot and ripped the puck over Hutchinson’s left shoulder.

In the third, Ritchie skated with Spezza and Wayne Simmonds. Pierre Engvall skated on the top line with Matthews and Mitch Marner. William Nylander also saw time on the Matthews line.

Keefe said he could return Ritchie to Matthews and Marner in Pittsburgh.

The mix of lines won’t do much good if the Leafs put in an effort similar to the one they called up on Friday.



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