For anyone else, scoring a goal and adding an assist to help his team to its fifth consecutive win would be a good night. For Patrick Marleau, it was a comedown.
The highest-scoring player in the history of the San Jose Sharks is off to the fastest start of any player in the modern history of the NHL. Marleau is the first player since 1917 to open his season with four consecutive multiple-goal games. He scored twice in San Jose's win at Calgary, had two more the next night in Edmonton, then doubled up again in the Sharks' home opener against Phoenix and again Saturday against Colorado.
His nine goals are four more than anyone else in the NHL entering the second full week of the season.
Marleau has six 30-goal seasons, with a high of 44 in 2009-10. Through five games this season, he's on a pace for 86 in this abbreviated 48-game season. That's not likely, but he's already more than a quarter of the way to passing Peter Bondra's League-leading total of 34 goals in 1994-95, the last time the NHL schedule was limited to 48 games.
Five up -- Five other players who are off to a hot start:
Joe Thornton -- Marleau's brilliance hasn't been a solo act. Most of his goals have come on setups from Thornton, the Sharks' No. 1 center, who's off to a fast start of his own. Thornton leads the NHL with 10 assists and shares the lead in points with Marleau at 13.
Martin St. Louis -- The 2004 NHL MVP shows no signs of slowing down at age 37. St. Louis has 11 points in Tampa Bay's first five games, including a four-assist performance in Sunday's 5-1 win against Philadelphia.
Patrick Kane -- Kane's revival is a big reason the Chicago Blackhawks are 6-0-0, the best start to a season in franchise history. After watching his points total decline from 88 in 2009-10 to 66 last season, the first player taken in the 2007 NHL Draft has two goals and nine points in Chicago's first six games.
Vladimir Tarasenko -- The St. Louis Blues were determined to make sure their top pick in the 2010 NHL Draft was on hand when the season started. General manager Doug Armstrong obviously knew something: The 21-year-old Russian has four goals and eight points in his first six NHL games and is a big reason the Blues are 5-1-0.
Craig Anderson -- In his first four starts for the Ottawa Senators, Anderson has allowed just three goals, and no more than one in any game. He’s 3-0-1 with a 0.73 goals-against average and a .975 save percentage, both tops in the League.
Five down -- Five players who aren't:
Cam Ward -- It's been a tough start to the season for Ward, the starting goalie in Carolina. He lost two of his first three starts, owns a 4.71 GAA and a save percentage of just .845.
Drew Doughty -- The star defenseman of the defending Stanley Cup champion Kings is averaging nearly 29 minutes of ice time in L.A.'s first four games, but has yet to get a point and is minus-1 for a team that's 1-2-1.
Ryan McDonagh -- The New York Rangers are off to a slow start, and McDonagh's play is one reason why. He's averaging 23:38 of ice time per game but hasn't recorded a point and is a minus-3 after totaling 32 points and a plus-25 rating last season.
Paul Stastny -- The son of Hall of Famer Peter Stastny has just one assist and a minus-3 rating -- not a good sign for a player whose points totals have gone from 79 in 2009-10 to 57 the following season to 53 in 2011-12.
Thee week ahead -- Twelve of the 30 teams play four times this week; only Calgary and St. Louis have as few as two games -- the Flames are home for both, the Blues are away. Chicago plays the first half of a six-game trip, while Nashville plays the last three of a seven-game swing. Winnipeg also plays all three games on the road; San Jose and Tampa Bay play their three games at home.
Games to watch:
Boston at Carolina (Jan. 28, 7 p.m. ET, NHLN-US, NHLN-CA) -- The slow-starting Hurricanes will try to cool off the Bruins, who haven't lost in regulation. The Hurricanes are coming off a season in which they swept Boston for the first time in franchise history.
New York Islanders at Pittsburgh (Jan. 29, 7:30 p.m., ET, NBCSN, TSN) -- Sidney Crosby always has enjoyed great success against the Islanders, though New York cost the Penguins dearly in last season's playoff race with a home-and-home sweep in late March.
Chicago at Minnesota (Jan. 30, 8 p.m. ET, NBCSN) -- Viewers who tune in for this week's "Rivalry Night" game will get to see if the Wild can be the first team to take a point from the Blackhawks, who are off to a franchise-record 6-0-0 start.
Pittsburgh at New York Rangers (Jan. 31, 7 p.m., ET, NHLN-US, RDS) -- The Rangers will try to avenge a 6-3 loss to the Penguins in Pittsburgh's last trip to Madison Square Garden, Jan. 20.
Boston at Toronto (Feb. 2, 7 p.m. ET, NHLN-US, CBC, RDS) -- This is the back end of an NHL Network doubleheader for U.S. viewers, who can see New Jersey at Pittsburgh in the afternoon.
Pittsburgh at Washington (Feb. 3, 12:30 p.m. ET, NBC, TSN2) – The Capitals continue their tradition of playing on Super Bowl Sunday by hosting the Penguins. Beginning with a victory in the 2011 Winter Classic, Washington has won seven of the last nine meetings.
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