On Wednesday night in the Sharks 3-2 victory against the Ottawa Senators, it was all about Captain Patrick Marleau
. He scored twice on the evening, including the dramatic overtime game-winner.
The second goal in the bonus time just barely crossed the goal line, but it counted just the same.
“I didn’t get too much wood on it, but it snuck right by the pad,” said Marleau.
His first goal, which pulled San Jose even from a 1-0 deficit, was a different matter as Brian Campbell had dropped down to the bottom of the faceoff circle and delivered a perfect pass in the slot.
“’Soupy’ just made a great pass and I got a lot of wood on that one,” said Marleau.
Marleau’s play has picked up considerably since the NHL trade deadline passed on February 26 and the trade rumors have gone away.
“Now that the trade deadline has passed, he is relaxed, and having someone like Devin Setoguchi on his line, who can match his speed, has energized him a little bit,” said Sharks Head Coach Ron Wilson. “It’s irrelevant how he played in the first three months, just like our home record is irrelevant, but it’s how you play towards the end of the season and in the playoffs that really matters.”
Marleau also feels his current linemates of Setoguchi and Joe Pavelski
are a good fit for him.
“I think we’re able to use our speed,” said Marleau. “Pavs is hard on the puck and Seto has a good shot. We have to keep it up.”
Marleau now has three goals and three assists in the last five games.
“It’s nice to help the team offensively and help get the two points,” said the Captain.
Marleau’s teammates are enjoying his resurgence.
“It’s always fun to watch him,” said Jonathan Cheechoo. “He has a lot of speed and he’s driving the defensemen wide.”
PACIFIC DIVISION RACE
The Sharks victory moved them into second place in the Pacific Division and they only trail first place Dallas by three points. Team Teal has three games in hand on the current division leader. Both Dallas and Anaheim posted losses during the Sharks victory.
“We heard about it in the second intermission,” said Marleau. “We still have to worry about our games.”
“We knew how important these games were,” said Cheechoo about the brief two-game homestand. “We have a few teams ahead of us. We passed Anaheim tonight and there is just one more to catch.”
FEELING AT HOME
Brian Campbell’s assist in the third period gives him four points (1-3=4) in his last three games and the Sharks are a perfect 5-0 since his arrival. San Jose has won seven in a row dating back to February 21.
“The fans are awesome,” said Campbell. “Hopefully they like what they see from me. I’ll work hard and try and be creative.”
San Jose had to kill off an early penalty and had trouble finding their groove early, but played very strong for most of Wednesday night.
“We just had to keep on playing,” said Wilson. “With the exception of the first five minutes, we controlled the pace of the game, we used our speed, and we forechecked them. If not for their goalie’s effort (Gerber), the game wouldn’t have gone into overtime.”
San Jose trailed twice on the night, but refused to give up.
“Even though we were down, we stuck with it,” said Marleau.
CHEECH STILL HOT
Jonathan Cheechoo picked up his fourth point (2-2=4) in his last two games and his eighth point (6-2=8) in his last eight games. His tally that tied the game at two late in the second period was his 16th goal in the last 23 contests.
“Milan made some nice moves and Joe made a perfect pass right on the tape,” said Cheechoo. “I just had to get it up.”
SENATORS HEAD COACH BRYAN MURRAY
“Again, Martin Gerber gave us a chance to win the hockey game, to start off with - I thought he played really well. I thought our guys worked hard. We made some mistakes. We made a mistake on the tying goal. Obviously, on the first goal, I put Spezza and Heatley out there just to win a faceoff and get the puck out and we didn’t get the right coverage. They’re not penalty killers, normally. Then, we get a broken stick in overtime, and they jammed one in. Good hockey game. Obviously, [the Sharks] are a real good club. We just didn’t get enough scoring chances.”
“I really respect the Sharks ability with the puck, especially guys like Thornton and Cheechoo that go to the net so well. We just tried to play good defense, and I thought we did a real good job. I thought we took some risky plays.”
San Jose will visit Chicago Friday in a 5:30 p.m. PST contest that will be available on 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.