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At the Rink: Sharks at Flyers

by Adam Kimelman

PHILADELPHIA -- San Jose Sharks forward Patrick Marleau will attempt to become the 83rd player in NHL history to reach 1,000 points when the Sharks (10-8-0) play the Philadelphia Flyers (6-8-4) on Thursday at Wells Fargo Center (7 p.m. ET; CSN-CA, CSN-PH).

Marleau said the thought of reaching the 1,000-point milestone hasn't completely sunk in yet.

"I think it's easier to keep the focus on playing the game and playing hard, and those things usually happen," he said. "Or you get those points when you're playing hard and playing within a certain structure."

What makes Marleau's chance at history that much sweeter is he'll have done it all with one team. Selected by the Sharks with the second pick of the 1997 NHL Draft, he's the franchise's leader in games played (1,347), goals (462) and points (999), among other categories.

"That's pretty rare, to be able to have done that," he said. "It's definitely special to be all with one team."

Marleau has goals in two straight games after scoring once in his previous 12. Part of that coincides with a return to center.

"It's nice to get some results," he said. "Keep trying to do the same things game in and game out, and give yourself a chance to score. Started to go in the last couple games and looking forward to continuing that way."

Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said the move to the middle has allowed Marleau to take advantage of his speed.

"I think it frees him up to skate a little bit more," DeBoer said. "His best assets are his legs still at 36. I think it allows him to get his speed going a little bit. It's out of necessity; when we get [Logan] Couture back he'll go back to the wing. But he's comfortable there."

Marleau's teammates certainly are excited to see him this close to history.

"We're happy for teammates to set things like that," Sharks captain Joe Pavelski said. "It's pretty cool to be part of that. As a young guy to be able to play with him ... he was one of my first linemates. My first game I got put on with him, so that was exciting as a younger kid and he's flying around. You take things that you can from him and you try to get better. He'll help you along the way."

Sharks forward Joe Thornton said the game plan doesn't change to help one player reach an accomplishment.

"But if [Marleau] is open I'm always going to give him the puck," Thornton said.

The Sharks have won the first three games of their six-game road trip but understand the challenge the Flyers create.

"I'm real familiar with them," DeBoer said. "The core, I've seen first-hand in New Jersey for the last four years. They're a dangerous team. This is a hard place to play; they feed off the emotion of the crowd. They're a real good team at grabbing momentum and really turning the game on quick plays. And then for me [Flyers forward] Claude Giroux is one of the top-five players in the world in my mind. ... Anytime he's on the ice you have to know that and be aware of that. He can hurt you in a lot of different ways."

The Flyers have won once in the past four games (1-2-1) but they were happy with the effort they had in earning a point in a 3-2 shootout loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday.

Now six weeks into the season, the Flyers feel they're starting to execute the game plan the way first-year coach Dave Hakstol wants them.

"I think we're gaining more confidence as the days go by, as the games go by," forward Wayne Simmonds said. "We know what he wants and it's just up to us to stick on the same page and go out and do it."

Hakstol said he's seen things improve the past two games.

"We're getting closer," he said. "We went through a stretch, and I talked about it a couple days ago, we just didn't have a lot of energy, we couldn't get anything going. It wasn't really about the details at that point of time. It was regaining that moxie and that feel in the locker room, and we seem to have that back now. It's attention to detail. I think we understand the way we want to play. Now we have to keep cleaning up those areas. The bottom line is finding ways to come out with two points instead of the other night with one point."

Here are the projected lineups:


Melker Karlsson - Joe Thornton - Joe Pavelski

Matt Nieto - Patrick Marleau - Joel Ward

Joonas Donskoi - Tomas Hertl - Tommy Wingels

Micheal Haley - Chris Tierney - Mike Brown

Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Justin Braun

Paul Martin - Brent Burns

Mirco Mueller - Brenden Dillon

Martin Jones

Alex Stalock

Injured: Logan Couture (leg)

Scratched: Nikolay Goldobin, Matt Tennyson


Brayden Schenn - Claude Giroux - Jakub Voracek

Matt Read - Sean Couturier - Wayne Simmonds

Taylor Leier - Scott Laughton - Sam Gagner

Michael Raffl - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Chris VandeVelde

Michael Del Zotto - Radko Gudas

Nick Schultz - Luke Schenn

Brandon Manning - Shayne Gostisbehere

Steve Mason

Michal Neuvirth

Injured: Ryan White (upper body), Mark Streit (detached pubic plate), R.J. Umberger (foot)

Scratched: Vincent Lecavalier, Evgeny Medvedev

Status report: Dainius Zubrus, with the Sharks on a professional tryout contract, took part in the morning skate. "It's tough to find 6-foot-4, 215-pound guys that can play," DeBoer said. "I had him for 3 1/2 years in New Jersey. He's an easy guy to play because he's defensively reliable, plays a big, possession-heavy game. There's a lot to like there." ... Neuvirth took part in the morning skate and will backup Mason. Neuvirth missed the game Tuesday because of an upper-body injury. Anthony Stolarz, who was called up from Lehigh Valley of the American Hockey League on Tuesday, was returned to the AHL.

Who's hot: Pavelski has two goals and three assists during a three-game point streak. ... Giroux has three goals and five assists in his past eight games.


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