On Thursday, the Maple Leafs ended their three-game losing slide with a 3-2 win over the San Jose Sharks at Air Canada Centre.
Tyler Bozak had the winning goal in a six-round shootout to clinch the victory.
The game was highlighted by a bizarre incident after Nazem Kadri and Joe Thornton engaged in fisticuffs just two seconds off the opening faceoff. During the scrap, Kadri ripped off a huge chunk of Thornton’s famous beard, and the clump of hair lay on the ice for everyone to see.
“I ended up with a piece of it in my hand. I have no idea how that happened,” Kadri said to reporters after the game. “I thought I was a hockey player and not a barber. I didn’t know what to expect, I didn’t mean to grab him there. He’s a big boy, I couldn’t reach all the way across his shoulder and felt like I just grabbed him in the middle of his jersey and just came down with a handful of hair.”
Auston Matthews opened the scoring with his 18th goal of the year, deflecting a Connor Carrick point shot past Martin Jones. The Sharks evened the score on Brenden Dillon’s first tally of the season with just under a minute remaining in the first period.
In the second period Kadri deflected a shot with his skate – no kicking motion – to end a personal drought of twelve games without a point. But San Jose pulled even after Chris Tierney pounced on an atrocious giveaway from Frederik Andersen, who tried to direct a rebound off a dump-in but instead placed the puck right onto Tierney’s stick.
The third period and overtime were both scoreless, setting the stage for the eventual shootout, won by Bozak.
Andersen stopped 33 shots to earn the win.
It was the first victory by the Leafs over the Sharks since January 11, 2011 following a streak of ten consecutive defeats against the club. Also, it was Toronto’s first home win versus San Jose dating back to January 29, 2002.