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Marleau Sets Another Franchise Mark, Sharks Roll 5-2

by Staff Writer / San Jose Sharks
Patrick Marleau became the all-time leading goal scorer in Sharks franchise history as the Sharks defeated the Kings 5-2 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Thursday night.
Click here for video highlights from Thursday’s game.

The San Jose Sharks headed south to Los Angeles on Thursday night for their matchup with the intrastate rival Kings. It was the sixth meeting between the two teams on the season with the Sharks holding the 3-2 edge in the season series. Vesa Toskala took his turn in net for Ron Wilson’s squad and Mathieu Garon manned the nets for the Kings.
Early on, the two teams matched each other defensively. Neither team was able to establish a forecheck nor a cycling game as both broke out of their own zone with relative ease.
The Kings earned the first scoring chance of the night as the two teams finally opened up the game offensively. With 11:30 remaining in the first, Kings rookie forward Anze Kopitar tried to jam a rebound chance past Toskala. But the Finnish goaltender denied Kopitar, sprawling on the ice to his left and reaching behind him to make the save.
With 9:45 remaining in the first, the Sharks earned their first quality scoring chance. After Curtis Brown won a defensive zone faceoff, Mark Bell chipped the puck up the ice and sprung Mike Grier through center on a breakaway. Grier moved into the Kings zone and made a move before trying to sneak a backhand shot through Garon’s legs. Grier was denied and the game remained scoreless.
At 5:28, Joe Thornton drew a tripping minor on Craig Conroy marking the game’s first man advantage. The League’s top power play unit squared off against the League’s 29th ranked penalty killing unit. The Sharks managed two shots on goal, but despite the discrepancy in special teams efficiency, the Sharks were unable to convert.
A high-sticking minor on Sean Avery with 1:22 left in the first sent San Jose on their second power play of the night, but the Kings denied the Sharks entry into the Los Angeles zone to open the man advantage. In the closing seconds of the first Thornton rifled a shot just wide of the far post to Garon’s right and time expired in the first period.
After 20 minutes of play, the two teams remained scoreless.
The Sharks opened the second period with 38 seconds remaining on Avery’s minor. But as they did in the first, the Kings killed the advantage rather easily.
Kings forward Dustin Brown drew the first power play for the Kings when he forced Christian Ehrhoff to take a hooking minor just 57 seconds into the period. On the ensuing power play, Kings defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky rang a shot off post, but the puck managed to stay out of the net.
The Sharks couldn’t dodge a second bullet however as he Kings drew first blood. With 14:58 to go in the second, Mike Cammalleri converted on a busted play as Los Angeles took the 1-0 lead.
Just 37 seconds after the opening goal, Mark Bell took an ill advised tripping minor as he pushed Tom Kostopoulos’ feet out from under him. The Kings swarmed around the Sharks on the ensuing power play, but most of the activity was on the perimeter as Toskala was only called on once to make an important save.
The Sharks escaped from Bell’s minor unscathed, then quickly changed their fortune. At 12:12, as Bell’s penalty expired, Scott Hannan controlled the puck in front of the Sharks net before firing an 80-foot, tape-to-tape backhand pass to Bell who had just exited the box. Grier hustled down the ice to join Bell, creating a two-on-one chance. Using Grier as a decoy, Bell opened up Garon and buried the puck five-hole tying the game at 1-1.
At 7:56, Avery was sent off again, this time for slashing Ryane Clowe. While the Kings killed Avery’s first minor easily, they were not as fortunate the second time around. Milan Michalek took an indirect feed from Jonathan Cheechoo and scored 15 seconds into Avery’s penalty, roofing a backhand shot high over Garon on the blocker side making it a 2-1 game.
The Sharks protected the lead with solid defensive play and with 1:02 remaining in the stanza, expanded on it. Captain Patrick Marleau became the all-time leading goal scorer in San Jose Sharks franchise history as he gave the Sharks the 3-1 lead. Marleau corralled a loose puck left in the slot after a Joe Pavelski shot, kicked the puck to his forehand, squared to the net, then fired a dart towards the far side post that beat Garon.
It was Marleau’s 207th career goal as he surpassed former Shark Owen Nolan’s mark of 206. Perhaps more importantly, it gave the Sharks an important 3-1 lead heading into the decisive third period.
The second period came to a close with the Sharks leading 3-1 after 40 minutes of play.
The Kings controlled the puck in the Sharks zone prompting Wilson to use his timeout after an icing infraction two minutes into the third. San Jose escaped the Kings pressure with their two-goal lead intact as they looked to slant the ice back in their favor.
The Sharks did just that. At 12:32, Clowe expanded the Sharks lead to 4-1. Doug Murray gathered the puck at the halfboards and one-timed a shot towards Garon. Clowe redirected the Murray offering straight up and past a dropping Garon.
Clowe’s goal proved to be huge. On the following shift, Kopitar pulled the Kings back within two. Kopitar redirected a Konstantin Pushkarev pass past a scrambling Toskala to make it 4-2 with 11:58 remaining.
But the Sharks proved to be too much for the Kings as Patrick Rissmiller put the game on ice with his empty net goal in the waning minutes. Rissmiller and Joe Pavelski did a stellar job denying the Kings entry in the Sharks zone, then Pavelski found Rissmiller for the empty netter. The Sharks ran out the remaining time and kicked off their brief two-game road trip with an impressive 5-2 win.
Former Shark Alyn McCauley had an even player rating and won six of ten faceoffs in 9:51 of work against his former team. Scott Thornton did not play and will miss some time due to a wrist injury.
Ever since the officiating mishap that allowed the Sharks to score twice on the same power play against Columbus, the Sharks have been on the apparent short end of the officiating stick. Wednesday night featured a handful of questionable calls against the Sharks and several no calls against the Oilers.
Thursday night featured two dangerous hits in the second period that were obvious penalties but did not result in calls against the Kings. Mark Smith was boarded from behind by Kings defenseman Aaron Miller and hit his head awkwardly on the dasher. Smith was shaken up but did return. On another play, Marc-Edouard Vlasic was run by Kings forward Anze Kopitar who finished with both hands at Vlasic’s head. Vlasic’s helmet was knocked off on the play and he did not return.
Mark Smith returned to the lineup and Ville Nieminen was a scratch as the two swapped spots, while Scott Parker (lower body) was placed on injured reserve.
Marleau – Thornton – Clowe
Michalek – Pavelski – Cheechoo
Bell – Brown – Grier
Rissmiller – Goc – Smith
Hannan – Gorges
McLaren – Ehrhoff
Vlasic – Murray
Toskala – Nabokov
The Sharks conclude their brief two-game road swing on Saturday night when they return to Phoenix for the first time since the 8-0 pounding they received from the Coyotes. Game time is set for 6:00 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on FSN Bay Area in high-definition, KFOX 98.5 FM, Sharks Radio Network Affiliates and
FINAL 1 2 3 T
San Jose   0 3 2 5
Los Angeles   0 1 1 2
Official Scoresheet Official Super Stats
Boxscore Faceoffs
Play-by-Play Shift Chart
Rosters TOI - SJS|LAK
SJS: BELL, M. (07:48 in 2nd), MICHALEK, M. (PPG, 12:19 in 2nd), MARLEAU, P. (18:58 in 2nd), CLOWE, R. (07:28 in 3rd), RISSMILLER, P. (18:34 in 3rd)
LAK: CAMMALLERI, M. (05:02 in 2nd), KOPITAR, A. (08:02 in 3rd)
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