Auston Matthews and Nazem Kadri scored, and Frederik Andersen made 33 saves for the Maple Leafs (24-16-2), who ended a three-game losing streak and defeated the Sharks at home for the first time since January 29, 2002.
As Thornton was in the penalty box following the fight, the beard trimming eventually ended up on the Sharks' bench.
At the end of the tilt, which featured Kadri skating away from Thornton while the Sharks center connected on a few blows, a large hunk of whiskers from Thornton's beard hit the ice like a tumbleweed, having been snatched from his face by Kadri.
On the bright side, Thornton appeared to be in good spirits after the game, posing for a photo showing off his "on-ice beard trim".
Now this how you start a good ol' hockey game (if it was 1976). But even though they scored twice and held San Jose's power play without a goal in three tries, the Leafs went into the third period in a 2-2 tie thanks to a mistake by their goaltender.
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The Toronto Maple Leafs and San Jose Sharks kicked off their match-up at the Air Canada Centre tonight with a bang, as centers Nazem Kadri and Joe Thornton dropped the gloves and exchanged punches right off the opening face-off. "I'm playing with some great players who are looking for me to try to get me out of that slump", Kadri said.
Dillon tied it with 52 seconds left in the first. It's so important in our game - our game is every night, it's a grind, it's hard.
"I have no idea", he said. "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 came down with a handful of hair".
"I had to stay patient", Kadri said.
Matthews made it 1-0 when he deflected a point shot from Connor Carrick between Jones' pads at 18:37 of the first period.