NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Tuesday, March 11th
(All times Eastern)
Toronto Maple Leafs (35-23-8) at San Jose Sharks (41-17-7), 10:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The San Jose Sharks hope to gain some additional ground
in the race for the Pacific Division title, as they shoot for a third straight
win in Tuesday's home test against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Prior to the Olympic break in February, Anaheim seemed poised to run away with
the Pacific crown but the Sharks have made a race of it by going 7-2-1 over
their past 10 games. The Sharks enter Tuesday just four points behind the
idle Ducks for first place.
After beginning a four-game homestand with an overtime loss against Carolina,
the Sharks have recorded consecutive wins over Pittsburgh and Montreal. The
victories over the Penguins and Canadiens have pushed San Jose's excellent
home record to 24-4-4 this season.
In Saturday's 4-0 win against Montreal, the Sharks received the only offense
they would need when Tommy Wingels scored shorthanded just 2:26 into the game.
It was the first of two goals on the night for Wingels, while Logan Couture
added a marker and two assists.
Antti Niemi held down the fort, stopping 27 shots for his third shutout of the
"(Niemi) played great," said Wingels. "I think for the most part we kept them
to the outside, but he made a couple big saves."
Matt Nieto added a goal and an assist for the Sharks, who have won four of
their last five home games.
Next up for San Jose is a three-game road trip that is set to begin Thursday
evening in Columbus. The Sharks also will visit both New York teams on the
swing, taking on the Islanders on Friday before battling the Rangers on
The Maple Leafs will aim for a fourth straight win on Tuesday after the club
began a five-game road trip with Monday's victory over the Anaheim Ducks. The
game marked Toronto head coach Randy Carlyle's return to Anaheim, where he
served as head coach of the Ducks for six-plus seasons before getting fired on
Nov. 31, 2011 and replaced by Bruce Boudreau.
The Ducks won the Stanley Cup in 2007 under Carlyle, who went 273-182-61
during his time with Anaheim.
Phil Kessel and Tyler Bozak each registered a goal and two assists to lead
Toronto to a 3-1 win over the Ducks on Monday. Paul Ranger had the other goal
and Jonathan Bernier stopped 43-of-44 shots for the win.
"It is nice to start off the road trip with a win," Bozak said. "We know it is
going to be a really tough trip so that is a big start for us."
The Maple Leafs, who are 13-12-7 on the road, also will face the Sharks,
Kings, Capitals and Red Wings on their trek.
Toronto enters Tuesday with a one-point lead over Montreal for second place in
the Atlantic Division and the Leafs can extend that cushion over the idle
The Sharks have won the last two meetings in the series with Toronto and
recorded a 4-2 road win over the Maple Leafs on Dec. 3. Niemi stopped 28-of-30
shots to notch the victory and the 30-year-old netminder is 2-1-0 with a 2.01
goals against average in three career games against the Leafs.
Toronto has lost six of its last seven games versus the Sharks, but the Leafs
were able to halt a five-game winless streak in San Jose when they posted a
4-2 win in Silicon Valley on Jan. 11, 2011. The Sharks had recorded three wins
and pair of ties over five meetings from 1997-2008 before Toronto halted the
skid in its last trip to San Jose.
03/11 10:56:49 ET