Sharks' Marleau ties 96-year-old mark with fast start
SAN JOSE, Calif. -- San Jose Sharks forward Patrick Marleau can't explain his historically hot start to the NHL season, but he plans to ride this streak for as long as possible.
Marleau scored two goals for the fourth straight game Saturday, sparking the Sharks to a 4-0 win against the Colorado Avalanche at HP Pavilion. He joined Cy Denneny of the 1917-18 Ottawa Senators as the only players in NHL history with four multi-goal games to open a season.
"I wasn't aware of that," Marleau said after the game. "It's good that we're winning and things are going well right now. It's obviously only four games, but we'll just keep trying to build on it."
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Marleau is known for going on goal-scoring binges, but not at the start of seasons. Over the first four games of his previous 14 NHL seasons, Marleau scored a combined 13 goals.
Marleau said he never could have imagined scoring two goals in four straight games to start a season.
"No, no. But I'll keep taking them if they keep coming," Marleau said. "That's for sure."
Marleau's teammates have enjoyed watching the show and history being made.
"That's a long time. Almost 100 years," Sharks captain Joe Thornton said of Marleau matching Denneny's feat. "What can I say. The guy is unbelievable. He’s in great shape. He loves to score goals. He’s in the right area. All his goals are in the blue paint, so he’s gotten dirty scoring those goals. But since 1917? It’s great."
Going into Saturday's game, Marleau led the NHL in goals with six. Then he scored two more goals in the first period, both from close range on the power play, giving the Sharks a 2-0 lead. Linemates Joe Pavelski and Thornton each had a primary assist.
"I think the other guys who got me the puck made it look easy," Marleau said. "The (first) one, I think I almost stole it from Joe Pavelski. He had it on his tape. It was bouncing a little bit, so I thought I'd take a whack at it, too. That was good. The other one was just a great, phenomenal play by Jumbo (Thornton) to get me the puck on the side of the net."
Sharks rookie Matt Irwin, who scored his first NHL goal Saturday, said watching Marleau's hot streak has been a treat.
"Man, two goals each of the four games, it's unbelievable," Irwin said. "It's great to watch. It's actually really run to watch.
"You're on the ice, you give it to Patty. He's hot right now. He can't stop shooting and he can't stop going to the net because that's where he's getting rewarded. He's doing a heck of a job."
Marleau came close to notching his first hat trick of the season. Just moments before Thornton scored in the second period to put the Sharks up 3-0, Marleau almost redirected a shot past Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov.
Left Wing - SJS
GOALS: 8 | ASST: 3 | PTS: 11
SOG: 20 | +/-: 4
"It would be nice, but I'm not going to get greedy," Marleau said of his near hat trick. "I'm taking them as they come. Just trying to do the same thing, trying to work and keep going to the same areas. My linemates have been playing great, too. Had a few empty, wide-open cages, so I'll keep taking them."
Thornton entered Saturday's game with a League-high eight assists and added another on Marleau's second goal. Pavelski had seven assists and picked up his eighth on Marleau's first goal.
Defenseman Brad Stuart called Marleau's fast start "something special," but needled him for his lack of hat tricks.
"At this point, he’s 0-for-4 in getting a hat trick," Stuart joked. "He has to work on that. He obviously has a hot hand right now. We’ll need contributions from everyone at some point. But right now, Patty is playing amazing and putting the puck in the net every time he touches it, it seems like."