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Marleau gets two more as Sharks beat Coyotes 3-1

by John Kreiser

Patrick Marleau is so hot he seemingly can put the puck in the net without even trying to.

Marleau became the first player in the NHL to surpass the 30-goal by scoring twice and assisted on San Jose's other goal as the Sharks beat the slumping Phoenix Coyotes 3-1 Tuesday night.

Marleau got his 30th at 11:24 of the first period, tapping a loose puck into an open net for a shorthanded goal after Phoenix goalie Jason LaBarbera went behind his own net to stop the puck only to watch it spin off his blade and drift into the crease.

"On the penalty kill you're trying to get pressure up front," Marleau said. "I knew (Rob) Blake got it down low and I was just trying to get a good chase on it and saw the puck bounce out. I'll take those. I'll take them all night."

He made it 2-0 at 18:06 with a power-play goal -- barely touching a rolling puck originally shot by Dan Boyle from the left point.

"There was a tip and a tip and I just got enough of my stick on it," Marleau said.

Dany Heatley scored his 27th goal and Joe Thornton added his league-leading 49th assist for the Sharks, who won their second game in two nights and third in a row over the Coyotes.

"Patty is really hot right now," Thornton said, "and you've got to keep feeding him."

The Sharks' penalty-killers had a great night, killing off all seven Phoenix power plays as well as scoring the shorthanded goal. It was a tremendous effort for a group that won 2-1 in Los Angeles on Monday while the Coyotes sat and waited for them. Both teams had played -- and lost -- on Saturday.

"The significance is we've played three games in four nights, they were rested and we took some penalties and were able to get by," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "Our penalty kill gives us a chance to win every night."

The Coyotes, who had pulled within three points of the Sharks for the Pacific Division lead two weeks ago, are just 1-3-2 in their last six games and have dropped 10 points behind San Jose.

"We're not in rhythm right now," coach Dave Tippett said. "There are some mistakes going against us, and like we've talked about since the start of the year our margin for error is very slim on most nights."

Phoenix has lost three straight for the first time this season.

"The last few games we've kind of dropped the ball and we have to be a lot better than what we've showed on the last couple," captain Shane Doan said. "It's hard. If you could put your finger on it you'd change it but it's probably a little bit of everything."

Heatley made it 3-0 at 12:49 of the second, knocking in his own rebound just as he was knocked off his skates at the top of the crease.

Radim Vrbata cut the lead to 3-1 with 8:10 remaining when his shot from the outside hashes of the left circle went off Evgeni Nabokov and into the net for his 14th goal. It was the only shot to beat Nabokov, who finished with 32 saves -- including 26 in the first 40 minutes.

Material from team media and wire services was used in this report

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