Instant Replay: Marleau's 498th goal puts Sharks back in first place

Instant Replay: Marleau's 498th goal puts Sharks back in first place


After one of the most memorable nights of his career, Patrick Marleau scored the game-winning goal late in the third period as the Sharks downed the Jets at MTS Centre on Tuesday night, 4-3.

Following up on his four-goal game in Colorado on Monday, Marleau received a seam pass from Ryan Carpenter and had all kinds of room to whip through his 17th goal of the season, and fifth in the last two games.

The Sharks (31-16-2, 64 points) increased their season-long winning streak to six games, and took over first place in the Pacific Division.

The teams were tied at 2-2 to start the third, before the Jets took their first lead of the night shortly after that. A point slapper by Josh Morrissey was kicked to the slot by Aaron Dell, and Bryan Little swooped in. Little’s rebound attempt hit the cross bar, but tricked in off of Dell’s backside at the four-minute mark for his second of the evening.

Later, though, Melker Karlsson was awarded a shorthanded penalty shot after Jacob Trouba slashed him from behind. Karlsson went top corner through Ondrej Pavalec at 9:37.

The Sharks improved to 8-2-0 in their last 10 games, while Winnipeg lost for the fifth time in its last eight (2-5-1).

Each team traded scores in each of the first two periods.

Brent Burns got the Sharks on the board with a slapper on a five-on-three advantage, for his 21st of the season at 3:59. It was the defenseman’s sixth goal in the last nine games.

Winnipeg answered with a partial breakaway goal by Little, who slipped the puck underneath Dell at 8:02.

San Jose took another lead early in the second. The Jets were caught flat-footed in their own zone, and Mikkel Boedker found Logan Couture cutting to the net. Couture shoveled the pass into an open net 27 seconds after the faceoff.

Again, the Jets responded. A howitzer by Andrew Copp from the circle found the top near corner with 1:59 to go before the second intermission to make it 2-2.

Earlier in the day, the Sharks traded forward Tommy Wingels to the Ottawa Senators for forwards Buddy Robinson and Zack Stortini, and a seventh round pick in the 2017 draft. Robinson and Stortini were immediately assigned to the AHL Barracuda.

Special teams:
Burns’ goal was a rare power play goal on the road by the Sharks, as they finished 1-for-2. San Jose is 10-for-77 with a man advantage (12.9 percent) when skating as the visitor.

Winnipeg finished 0-for-2. The Sharks are 26-for-33 on the PK in their last 13 games (78.7 percent).

Karlsson’s penalty shot conversion was officially the Sharks’ third shorthanded goal of the year.

In goal:
Making his eighth start of the season, and just his second against the Western Conference, Dell upped his season record to 6-2-0 with 31 saves.

Pavalec, making his fourth straight start since getting recalled from the AHL, took the loss with four goals allowed on 26 shots.

Wingels’ absence, as well as that of Joonas Donskoi, meant Carpenter drew back into the lineup and Barclay Goodrow made his season debut.

Donskoi left San Jose’s game in Denver on Monday with what looked to be an upper body injury after getting hammered by Andreas Martinsen in the first period. He has now missed four of the last seven games.

Winnipeg welcomed rookie Patrik Laine back into the lineup. The Calder Trophy candidate had missed the past eight games with a concussion.

Up next:
In the final game before the All-Star break, the Sharks host the Oilers at SAP Center on Thursday. San Jose is 2-0 against what could be a budding rival, including a 3-2 overtime win at home on Dec. 23, and a 5-3 victory in their first-ever visit to Rogers Place on Jan. 10.

Paul Martin rewarding Peter DeBoer's faith in NHL return


Paul Martin rewarding Peter DeBoer's faith in NHL return

When Sharks defenseman Paul Martin confirmed reports in January that he was willing to go elsewhere for more playing time, his head coach was insistent that the team would need the veteran blueliner. 

"I really believe we need eight NHL defenseman here," DeBoer told reporters in January (via The Mercury News). "If it happens that he isn't here, then that'll be disappointing for us. I'm not hoping that's where this goes. I'm hoping this goes to a place where he can maybe go down, play some games and keep himself ready, because I know we're going to need eight defensemen."

That's pretty much exactly what's happened.

After clearing waivers in January and playing with the AHL's San Jose Barracuda, Martin was called up ahead of the Sharks' four-game road trip at the end of February. He did not play until last Saturday in Vancouver, when an upper-body injury to rookie defenseman Joakim Ryan, whose play pushed Martin down the depth chart in the first place, created an opening alongside Brent Burns. 

Martin's now played three straight games with Burns, his defensive partner for the vast majority of the previous two seasons. It's the first time Martin's played in three consecutive NHL games all season, and although he hasn't played much (11:53 in average time-on-ice), he's acquitted himself nicely in a sheltered role.

His five-on-five possession numbers (52.78 percent corsi-for; 53.33 percent fenwick-for) are the second-best marks among Sharks defensemen over the last three games. Burns, too, has posted better possession numbers with Martin (47.62 percent corsi-for; 50 percent fenwick-for) during the last three contests than without his longtime partner (43.40 percent corsi-for; 41.67 percent fenwick-for). 

The Sharks have also outscored (3-0) and outchanced (17-16) opponents with Martin on the ice, neither of which was the case in Martin's first three appearances earlier this season. The former is owed to a decent amount of puck luck, as the Sharks have converted on 17.65 percent of their shots with him on the ice, but the latter is an extension of his solid underlying numbers. 

Martin's played the least amount of total minutes among Sharks defensemen since coming back, even as Marc-Edouard Vlasic missed time in two of the last three games, and has barely been used in special teams. His days of averaging 20-or-more minutes a night are likely behind him, but the 37-year-old has played well in a limited role. 

Considering Martin's NHL days appeared to be behind him as recently as last month, his play has been a pleasant surprise. With the exception of his head coach, that is. 

Couture scores in OT, helps Sharks make up ground on Golden Knights

Couture scores in OT, helps Sharks make up ground on Golden Knights


SAN JOSE -- Seconds after almost costing the San Jose Sharks a game with a turnover, Logan Couture ended it with his backhand.

Couture scored 39 seconds into overtime after getting bailed out by goalie Martin Jones and the San Jose Sharks won their season-high sixth straight game, 2-1 over the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday night.

"I was able to make a move on their guy," Couture said. "(Marc-Edouard Vlasic) did a good job of driving their backchecker back and I was able to go far side."

Couture's goal came at the end of an opening shift of the overtime that started with him losing the puck in his own zone, giving Jonathan Marchessault a chance alone in front. Jones got enough of the shot to stop it, and then Vlasic sent the puck ahead to Couture for the winning goal that moved San Jose within seven points of first-place Vegas with eight games remaining in the regular season.

Brent Burns also scored and Jones made 24 saves to help the Sharks open a four-point lead over third-place Los Angeles in the Pacific Division with a game in hand as the Sharks close in on home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

"For us to get a win tonight was important," captain Joe Pavelski said. "Plus, just plant that seed. If we stay hot, you never know, we might be able to catch them and get home ice. We took care of business tonight and we'll try to keep playing well."

Tomas Tatar scored the lone goal for the Golden Knights, who were kept in the game by a sterling performance by goalie Malcolm Subban. He stopped 42 shots but it wasn't enough for Vegas to come up with the win, although he helped earn a point that gave the expansion team 100 this season.

"It's impressive," forward James Neal said. "It's a great season for our guys. Guys came together real quick. A great job so far but we're not done yet."

The Golden Knights struck first on a pretty passing play early in the first period that ended when Marchessault found Tatar cutting through the slot ahead of Justin Braun. Tatar skated past Jones and backhanded the puck into the open net.

Vegas has been dominant when getting off to a lead, posting an NHL-best 31-5-1 record when scoring first heading into this game. But the Sharks carried the play in the second period, outshooting the Golden Knights 18-4 and getting the equalizer on a blast by Burns from the point after another strong shift by San Jose's fourth line.

"We want to be playing really good hockey this time of year and heading into the playoffs. I think that's the goal," coach Peter DeBoer said. "Whether we would have won tonight or lost, I like how we played for most of the game, so that's what I'm concentrating on."

Vegas managed to keep it tied despite the lopsided shot totals, killing off a four-minute penalty to Colin Miller and another late power play that started late in the second.

That penalty carried over until the third period and the Sharks got 25 seconds of a two-man advantage after Brayden McNabb was called for throwing his stick but still couldn't get anything past Subban.

The Golden Knights squandered a power-play chance later in the period when Miller was called for cross checking with the man advantage. That nearly led to a power-play goal for San Jose but Subban appeared to get a piece of a shot from in close to Joe Pavelski to keep the game tied at 1.

"He's the main reason we got the point," coach Gerard Gallant said. "He looked comfortable."

NOTES: Vegas G Marc-Andre Fleury didn't make the trip to San Jose with an undisclosed injury but is expected to join the team for Saturday's game in Colorado. ... Burns became the 15th player to play 500 career games with the Sharks.

Golden Knights: Visit Colorado on Saturday.

Sharks: Host Calgary on Saturday.