TORONTO -- His team ended up with a 4-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday night, but midway through the game, Todd McLellan was one unhappy coach.
"It was actually embarrassing for a while how poorly we were playing," said McLellan of a 12-minute stretch that saw the Sharks cough up a two-goal lead. "We had to have a little chat and get everybody re-focused."
Whatever words he chose and whatever tone he used, it worked.
Later in that second period, Brad Stuart atoned for an earlier mistake that cost San Jose a goal and scored one of his own to give the Sharks the lead again. And this time they didn't lose it.
First-period goals by Mike Brown and Joe Thornton, as well as a late empty-net tally by Logan Couture, provided the offense as San Jose extended its winning streak to six games. Mason Raymond and Phil Kessel scored a pair of power-play goals for Toronto, which suffered its fifth consecutive loss.
The Sharks' fourth line of Brown, Andrew Desjardins and James Sheppard was instrumental in getting San Jose its early lead and then turning momentum back in the Sharks' favor.
"I thought they were the difference in the game, to tell you the truth," McLellan said. "Maybe their minutes don't reflect it, but their energy and the passion which they played with rubbed off on others."
Brown, who played more than two seasons with the Maple Leafs before trades to Edmonton and San Jose over the past nine months, got his second goal of the season at 10:00 of the first period on a deflection of a shot by Jason Demers.
"We've been working on tips lately, so I just put my stick down, and it basically deflected off there," Brown said. "Maybe it went five-hole. It's in, that's all that matters."
Thornton scored San Jose's first five-on-three goal of the season at 14:31 of the first period, and the Sharks continued to dominate play.
That changed late in the period with a penalty to James Sheppard. Toronto, which had the NHL's top power play at home with a 31.6 percent success rate, didn't capitalize on that one but did on its next two.
First, Dan Boyle was whistled for interference, and Raymond finished off a 2-on-1 rush that began on a misplay by Stuart to get Toronto on the board at 2:44.
"It was a pass up the wall, and I stepped up," Stuart said. "It was an easy interception to make, and I don't know if it went under my stick or what happened, but I just didn't get a good enough piece of it."
Later, Couture went to the penalty box for high-sticking Smith, and Leafs forward Tyler Bozak steered a rebound to Kessel, who hit the wide-open net at 9:47.
That's when McLellan delivered his message.
"Coach, he let us know what the night was looking like and how bad we were in that stretch," Joe Pavelski said. "Guys found their game, we simplified it a little bit and went back to work."
Shortly after that, it was the Leafs who found themselves hemmed into their own zone for nearly two minutes with the fourth line initially applying the sustained pressure.
Meanwhile, the Sharks were able to get fresh players on the ice and finally take advantage of the situation when Stuart carried the puck down the left sideboards and fired a centering pass that ricocheted into the net off a Leafs defender's stick.
"They're tired and it's their fourth line," Stuart said. "No disrespect, but maybe you could try things you wouldn't ordinarily do. We had a lot of good looks on that particular shift anyway. We were able to get a bounce and capitalize on it."
The Sharks improved their overall record to 19-3-5 and their record away from the SAP Center to 9-2-3. Their four-game trip continues Thursday night in Pittsburgh.
Sharks (19-3-5) at Pittsburgh (19-9-1), 4 p.m. CSNCA