|Toronto Maple Leafs||2|
|San Jose Sharks||2|
November 15, 2003 SAN JOSE, Calif. (CP)
- The San Jose Sharks are making a habit of late-game comebacks. They're also habitually failing to finish them - even with former teammate Owen Nolan back on the ice for motivation.
Mats Sundin and Alexander Mogilny each had a goal and an assist, but the Toronto Maple Leafs blew a two-goal lead in a 2-2 tie with the Sharks on Saturday night.
Patrick Marleau and Nils Ekman scored early in the third period for the Sharks, who stayed winless in their first eight home games this season despite overcoming a big third-period deficit for the second straight game. Vesa Toskala made 16 saves in a rare start for the Sharks, who lead the NHL with seven ties.
"Do you know that movie, 'Groundhog Day?' I feel like Bill Murray," Sharks coach Ron Wilson said. "Every darn game is a tie. We're in the same boat every day. We need to bury one, (but) we're showing some poise by not giving up."
Nolan, the Sharks' long-time captain, was warmly received in his return to San Jose for the Maple Leafs' first game at the Shark Tank since March 9, 1998.
Nolan was with the Sharks from 1996 until his trade to Toronto last March. Defenceman Bryan Marchment, another fan favourite in his days with the Sharks, also returned with the Maple Leafs.
Nolan, San Jose's franchise scoring leader, got an ovation and a smattering of boos when he took his first shift - but he couldn't stop the Leafs from taking the undisciplined penalties that eventually caught up to them.
"It was great. A lot of people out there gave me applause," Nolan said. "There was a lot of excitement for myself building up to it. Now that it's done, it's time to move on."
San Jose got its goals in the first five minutes of the third. The Sharks also rallied from a three-goal deficit Thursday night against St. Louis before losing in overtime.
Sundin scored Toronto's first goal on a cross-ice pass from Mogilny during a power play early in the second period. A few minutes later during a penalty kill, Sundin flipped a loose puck to Mogilny, who roared past two defencemen and beat Toskala on a breakaway.
But Marleau and Ekman scored in the first five minutes of the third period. Toronto backup goalie Mikael Tellqvist batted the puck into his own net while sprawling to recover after flubbing Ekman's shot.
"We came out flying, but we didn't bury our chances," Sharks forward Scott Thornton said. "Their goalie made some great saves. . . . It would be nice to win one of these overtime games, but we've been able to come back in the past two games, and that's been a key."
The Maple Leafs have just one loss in their last seven games. They dominated the first two periods before managing just two shots in the third.
"These are games we should be winning," Sundin said. "It hurts when you give up a point like we did tonight. We're undisciplined. It's tough enough to win in this league if you play at full strength in this league."
San Jose outshot Toronto 26-13 in regulation, but the Leafs got five shots in overtime. Tellqvist stopped 25 shots in his second straight start in place of Ed Belfour.
"If it wasn't for (Tellqvist), it could have been a lot different," Toronto coach Pat Quinn said. "We weren't a very smart hockey team. We just had too many minutes short-handed. When it's three games in four nights, you can't wear out our penalty-killers like that and expect them to play good five-on-five, too."
Thousands of transplanted Canadians and other Toronto fans wearing blue-and-white jerseys nearly outcheered the Sharks' faithful in San Jose's first sellout crowd of the season.
Marco Sturm missed a penalty shot for San Jose in the first period, firing the puck well wide of the net. Notes
: The Leafs finished off the California portion of a six-game West Coast road trip. Toronto spends the next week in western Canada during a stretch with nine of 10 games on the road. . . . Sharks D Christian Ehrhoff, recalled from the AHL on Friday, got his first NHL point with an assist on Marleau's goal. . . . Sharks C Alyn McCauley spent nearly six seasons in Toronto before moving in the trade that sent Nolan to the Leafs. Since the deal, McCauley's offensive production has been roughly equal to Nolan's contributions in Toronto.