Sharks Captain Patrick Marleau
is at the forefront of many Sharks categories, but he is tied for the overall NHL lead in one offensive area – game-winning goals. Through January, Marleau has posted eight game-winners, tied for first with Carolina’s Justin Williams for the league lead.
In fact, had Dallas not scored on a quirky goal with 2.2 seconds left Tuesday night, the All-Star centerman would have had nine GWG’s as he posted the Sharks second goal of the contest that was tied at two after 65 minutes.
“It’s definitely nice anytime anyone gets a game-winning goal,” said Marleau. “It doesn’t have to be me.”
The oddity with game-winning goals in hockey is that they aren’t always measured by a last second shot as in basketball or as a walk-off homer is in baseball.
“You don’t think about a game-winner until it’s late and the game is tied,” said Marleau. “If you get a goal in the first or second, you’re just not thinking about it being a game-winner.”
Leading the league in game-winning goals is nothing new to the Sharks as Cheechoo managed the feat last season. The Moose Factory, Ontario native is the NHL’s leading producer of GWG over the past several seasons.
“Sometimes you score early. Sometimes what seemed to be an insurance goal ends up being the winner,” said Cheechoo.
No matter how they happen, it tends occur with some of the NHL’s top point producers.
“Patty is just in the right spot at the right time and you just start feeling it,” said Cheechoo. “He is scoring big goals for the team and coming out of the gate hard. We’ve been playing good D and that can make early goals hold up.”
Cheechoo notes that the Sharks netminding duo of Evgeni Nabokov and Vesa Toskala, who have the Sharks sitting second overall in goal-against, play a big part in someone earning multiple deciding tallies.
“When you allow less than three a game, there are more chances your team will have the game-winning goal,” said Cheechoo.
The NHL purposely schedules several back-to-back contests with clubs throughout the year, but normally each team plays one at home and one on the road. Thursday night the Sharks and Stars will play the second of back-to-back games at HP Pavilion.
“It is what it is,” said Marleau. “It’s a little odd, but I don’t mind it. If we were on the road, I would probably want to continue on to a different city.”
It’s possible the two clubs could play in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and in that case, the two clubs would play two games straight in each city.
“It’s like a playoff format,” said Cheechoo.
This means that Marleau had four points in the game (2-2=4) and it also means that Gorges had just one assist in the contest (0-1=1).
UPPER DECK GIVEAWAY
The Sharks and Upper Deck will team up to give away 10,000 packs of NHL trading cards for Saturday’s game against the Blackhawks. The cards will be given away to the first 10,000 fans in attendance. The doors open at 11:45 a.m. for the 1 p.m. start against Chicago.
The Sharks will host the Dallas Stars Thursday night at HP Pavilion in a 7:30 p.m. start. Limited tickets are still available at the HP Pavilion Ticket Office and at www.ticketmaster.com
. The game will be available on FSN Bay Area, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.