SAN JOSE – Tommy Wingels didn’t let another dreadful call deter him from having an impact in the Sharks’ 6-2 win over Toronto on Tuesday night at SAP Center.
In the second period with the Sharks ahead 2-1, Wingels flattened the Maple Leafs’ Peter Holland in San Jose’s defensive zone. The puck went the other way, and the result was a Wingels deflection of a Justin Braun saucer at 6:54 of the middle frame for the forward’s 15th goal.
Toronto was never in the game after that, as Sharks put together one of their most dominant performances of the season in outshooting Toronto 48-21. Joe Pavelski had two goals and one assist.
The Sharks are now just two points behind division-leading Anaheim, which was idle on Tuesday. It’s the closest they’ve been to Anaheim since Dec. 9, and they once trailed by as many as 13 points on Jan. 15. The Ducks have played one fewer game than the Sharks, who have 17 remaining.
Wingels appeared to give the Sharks a 2-1 lead at 9:37 of the first period, but his jam at the side of the net through James Reimer was ruled dead by referee Dave Jackson, citing the league’s “intent to blow” rule. The puck was never even close to being frozen and it should have counted, the second time Wingels has been denied a goal in that fashion (Nov. 6 vs. Buffalo).
Jackson waved off another goal by Brent Burns less than two minutes later, after the puck quickly entered and exited the net. A video review confirmed it went in, though, giving San Jose its 2-1 lead at the break.
San Jose took over in the second. Along with Wingels’ goal, Pavelski capped a pretty passing play with an easy conversion from Joe Thornton at 8:13.
Pavelski added another in the third. Jason Demers managed to keep a clear attempt after a faceoff in at the blue line, and set up Pavelski with a perfect pass through the slot at 4:26 to make it 5-1. Gardiner (shorthanded) and Marty Havlat traded goals to cap the scoring later in the third.
Dion Phaneuf, who knocked teammate James van Riemsdyk from the game for a stretch in the second period, appeared to sucker punch Havlat with about three minutes left. That resulted in a fight between Wingels and Joffrey Lupul, and the Sharks closed out the game on a man advantage for the final few minutes.
Wingels finished with a Gordie Howe hat trick, as he also tallied an assist on Havlat's late goal. Thornton had three assists, while Vlasic finished with a +5 rating to go along with his goal.
The first five minutes were action-packed, with each team scoring once. Marc-Edouard Vlasic opened the scoring with a rocket through Reimer at 3:58 after Matt Nieto forced a turnover, and after James Sheppard rang one off the post, Jake Gardiner converted on a two-on-one rush after blowing past Marty Havlat.
Mike Brown dropped the gloves with Troy Bodie at 4:26, earning a decision over the Leafs’ forward. It was his 10th fighting major.
Andrew Desjardins fought twice, against David Clarkson in the second and Tim Gleason in the third.
The Sharks outshot the Maple Leafs 17-6 in the second period, at one time holding a 15-1 advantage midway through.
Pavelski has a team-leading 34 goals, tying him with Toronto’s Phil Keseel for third in the NHL.
Toronto, playing in the second of a back-to-back, lost for just the fourth time in regulation in its last 21 games (14-4-3). San Jose swept the season series with the Maple Leafs, including a 4-2 win on Dec. 3 at Air Canada Centre.
San Jose is 15-3-1 against Canadian teams this season, including a perfect 6-0 against Eastern Conference clubs north of the border.
The only facet of the Sharks’ game that was under the weather was, again, the power play. San Jose failed to get a single shot on goal during a long two-man advantage late in the second period, and finished 0-for-6. Overall, the Sharks are two for their last 54 with a man advantage.
At home, the Sharks are 1-for-42 on the power play in their last 11 games.
Toronto was 0-for-2 on the power play. The Sharks have killed off 26 of the last 29 chances against over the last nine games.
Antti Niemi started his third consecutive game for the first time since Jan. 7-14, when he made four straight. He picked up his 32nd win (32-13-6) with 19 saves.
Reimer took the loss, allowing all six goals on 48 shots.
After he was termed a game-time decision on Tuesday morning, Raffi Torres was scratched due to soreness, as he works himself back up to speed from right knee surgery in September. Torres has played in six of the Sharks’ eight games since the Olympic break, also sitting in Buffalo on Feb. 28.
Havlat returned to the lineup after he was scratched for the last two games, as did Brown, who sat out the previous four. Tyler Kennedy was scratched.
Pavelski’s second period goal was his 400th career point. Andrew Desjardins skated in his 200th career NHL game.
The Sharks begins a three-game road trip in Columbus Thursday before games against the Islanders on Friday and Rangers on Sunday. They return home to host Florida on Tuesday, March 18.