SAN JOSE – By the end of the evening, Patrick Marleau had earned a videoboard tribute honoring his 19 seasons playing for the San Jose Sharks, Joe Thornton had moved into sole possession of 20th place in NHL history for points, and the host team rallied to defeat Toronto 3-2 in front of a sold-out SAP Center.
While Marleau opted to play for the Toronto Maple Leafs this fall and began a three-year contract, Thornton stayed in San Jose for a 13th season.
Monday’s contest began a five-game Sharks stretch on home ice. After San Jose travels to Los Angeles Nov. 12 to play the Kings, the Sharks return for three additional home dates.
“That’s the best game we’ve played this year,” said San Jose coach Peter DeBoer. “Give our guys credit, we did that (eliminating penalties).”
San Jose rookie defenseman Tim Heed scored his second goal of the season while the Sharks were on a power play 4:11 into the third period to snap a 1-1 tie.
Heed was in position at the right point when he exchanges passes along the blueline with Brent Burns. When Burns slid a low pass to the rookie, Heed turned toward the net and blistered a high shot into the top left corner of the netting. Heed, the game’s First Star, finished with two points.
When the Leafs pulled the goaltender with 2:23 left in the period, San Jose needed only 10 seconds to make it 3-1. Chris Tierney assisted as Joel Ward delivered an empty-net goal from the Toronto blueline.
Toronto responded with Nazem Kadri’s goal with 1:10 left to complete the scoring.
Rather than Marleau becoming involved in the scoring for Toronto in the first period, Auston Matthews, the first-overall pick from the 2016 Entry Draft, did the damage 12:14 into action.
Leaf William Nylander sent a low shot from the San Jose blueline that left Shark Justin Braun and Toronto’s Nikita Zeitsev scrambling for the loose puck outside the blue ice. Matthews was able to pull the puk loose, kicking it forward with his right skate before pulling a low shot past goaltender Martin Jones. Matthews, at age 20, leads his team in goals (nine) and points (16).
The Sharks responded with the equalizer 7:58 into the second period. San Jose was at even strength when Thornton stroked a shot from the right point then glided past Heed’s stick and ended up off Joe Pavelski’s stick past Toronto goalie Frederik Andersen.
Thornton has 1,399 points, moving past Jari Kurri for that 20th spot.
“It was extremely special,” Marleau said of the pre-game festivities. “To get an ovation like that was humbling, something I’ll always remember.”