Sizzling Marleau leads Sharks past Avalanche
HP PAVILION — The Sharks’ run of perfection continues, as team teal got a pair of goals from Patrick Marleau to beat the Colorado Avalanche 4-0 Saturday afternoon.
Marleau has scored two goals in each of the first four games, and is on pace for 96 in the shortened 48-game schedule.
Sharks coach Todd McLellan said Marleau is full of confidence right now:
Post-Game Audio: Sharks Head Coach Todd McLellan
”I don’t know if he can keep scoring two goals every night. But he can keep his play up the way it’s been. He’s been skating extremely well. .. He’s prepared to shoot the puck. He’s engaged physically. It’s a great reward for him. He came focused to play.”
Sharks backup goalie Thomas Greiss made 24 saves for his first career NHL shutout. Captain Joe Thornton added a goal and an assist while Dan Boyle and Ryane Clowe each had two assists.
The momentum of the game shifted midway through the first period.
Brad Stuart leveled Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog with a hard hit along the boards just outside the Sharks blue line in the neutral zone. Although there was no penalty called on the hit, Ryan O’Byrne took exception and a beeline for Stuart and the two engaged in fisticuffs.
Post-Game Audio: Sharks Defenseman Brad Stuart
O’Byrne won the fight but lost the battle. He got a double minor for instigating the brawl and another penalty for a face shield for not removing his helmet.
San Jose was getting completely dominated by Colorado until the fight. That four-minute power play was the turning point of the game. O’Byrne served 19 minutes in penalties including a 10-minute misconduct.
After the game, Landeskog said he didn’t think he was the victim of a cheap shot:
Post-Game Audio: Colorado Left Wing Gabriel Landeskog
“I thought it was a hard hit. I haven’t seen it (the replay) but I think it was a clean hit or felt like a clean hit, no elbow but it was hard, I’ll tell you that much. I was kind of reaching for the puck and did brace myself enough and stepped up. That’s the way with hockey, you give some and you take some and tonight I took a pretty big one.”
The Sharks continue to ride the hot Marleau. On his first goal, Marleau’s centering pass made it to the high slot where Boyle wound up for the one-timer. Joe Pavelski got the rebound, and the puck made its way to Marleau for a backhander to beat goalie Varlomov blocker side.
The Sharks really showed off on the second goal with a little tic-tac-toe to light the lamp. It was a series of four passes ending up with the puck on Marleau’s stick, who made a quick adjustment to get it on his backhand to stick it past goalie Varlamov.
Marleau is only the second player in NHL history to have four straight multi-goal games to begin a season since Cy Denneny of the 1917-18 Ottawa Senators according to the Elias Sports Bureau:
Post-Game Audio: Sharks Forward Patrick Marleau
“I was unaware of that but it’s good that we’re winning and things are going well right now. It’s obviously only four games but we’ll keep trying to build on it.”
The Sharks continued their onslaught in the second period. Right as the period began, PA Parenteau was penalized for tripping Clowe.
On the ensuing power play — after a shot and a save — it was a scramble for the loose puck in front of the crease. Clowe sticked it towards Thornton who had plenty of time to set himself and flip it in the wide open net for the 3-0 lead.
Post-Game Audio: Sharks Captain Joe Thornton
The Sharks capped the scoring late in the second period when rookie Matthew Irwin got his first NHL goal. Irwin had a perfect shot, top shelf over the right shoulder of goalie Varlamov.
Marleau is the first NHL player with four consecutive multigoal games since Alexander Mogilny had five straight in 1992-93 for the Buffalo Sabres. … Recently signed Scott Gomez made his Sharks debut on the fourth line in place of James Sheppard and also got time on the second power-play unit. … Thornton’s second period power play goal, his second point of the game, put him in sole possession of 57th place on the NHL all-time points list (1,089). Thornton passed Theoren Fleury (1,088) and now trails 56th ranked Glenn Anderson (1,099). … San Jose’s 19 goals in the first four games of a season is a new franchise record. The previous record of 17 goals was set in both 1995-96 and 1999-00 (Credit: Elias Sports Bureau) … The 43 shots by the Sharks is a season high.