No one will accuse Tuesday night’s 4-3 win over Winnipeg of being pretty, but nobody on the Sharks’ plane headed back to the Bay Area cares much, either. San Jose has won six games in a row for the first time this season and can make it seven straight by beating Edmonton on Thursday.
That feels like gravy compared to Patrick Marleau moving within two goals of 500. Patty looks like his old self and it doesn’t much matter who Mr. Shark plays with anymore. Marleau can make San Jose history on home ice Tuesday.
His game-winner on Tuesday brings him to 97 over his career, just one of many San Jose franchise records he holds. The goal came on a defensive lapse by Winnipeg, but that doesn’t take anything away from the skill it required. Don’t take my word for it though; see for yourself.
That’s a nifty bit of skill by Marleau, who now has 17 goals on the season. His 0.35 goals per game pace is tied for seventh in his career and is just above his career average of 0.34, in case anyone else was worried about Marleau’s production this season.
Marleau found a temporary home on the second line with Mikkel Boedker and Logan Couture as head coach Pete DeBoer has been forced to juggle his lines due to injury. Whether he sticks there or goes back to the top line with Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski doesn’t matter as it relates to Marleau’s scoring. He can hit the twine no matter who he’s playing with.
While the Sharks have struggled to score this season, Marleau has been pretty consistent. He went through the ebbs and flows you’d expect of any scorer, but as you can see in the chart below he has hovered right below his career average of 0.34 goals per game for the majority of the campaign.
As I noted in my Daily Chum piece yesterday, it appears reports of Marleau’s death were greatly exaggerated. While the eye test didn’t treat Marleau particularly favorably early in the season, he wasn’t given the same leash by many (myself included) that someone like Mikkel Boedker has and that’s (obviously) not fair.
Marleau doesn’t drive possession numbers the way someone like Joe Thornton does, but he doesn’t have to. Besides, he’s not a drag on possession, either. Check out the Sharks’ team-wide shot numbers.
Marleau is a positive possession player and he’s now second on the team in goals. So, you know, I guess he’s doing something right after all. We’ve got a chance to see history on Thursday. If you’ve got tickets, consider yourself lucky. I can’t imagine a place I’d rather be.