Patrick Marleau, Chris Tierney and Martin Jones all keyed the high-flying Sharks’ latest win in Vancouver on Thursday night at Rogers Arena, 4-1. Here are the three primary takeaways from San Jose’s eighth win in its last nine games…
1 – Marleau’s milestone, and some other notable stats
In a few years, no one will remember a February game in Vancouver for anything other than it was the night that Patrick Marleau reached 500 career goals. He spoke to CSN at the first intermission, and expanded on his accomplishment with reporters in the Rogers Arena dressing room afterwards, indicating it was extra special that all 500 came in one sweater.
“To be playing with one club and with a lot of guys for a lot of years on this team, it means a lot to share that with them, and to see how happy they are for you,” he said.
More importantly to the current version of the Sharks is just how well Marleau is playing lately, with seven goals in his last five games, including that historic four-goal third period in Colorado on Jan. 23.
“He’s been hot lately,” Pete DeBoer said. “He’s been shooting, he’s been creating chances, he’s been playing hard. He’s always been a little bit of a streaky scorer, and we felt there was a good chance he was going to get it tonight.”
Another Sharks player is nearing a milestone himself, and it may be even more impressive than 500 goals. Joe Thornton had the secondary assist on Brent Burns’ third period goal, and is now just six away from 1000 for his career. He would be just the 13th NHL player to have that many helpers.
“We’ll get there one day, we’ll get there. We’ve still got some work to do,” Thornton deadpanned. “Just so happy for Patty tonight. Just love the guy, he’s the best.”
One more historical note that can’t be overlooked, either, is what Burns is doing. According to Elias, Burns is the first defenseman in NHL history to have an eight-game goal-scoring streak on the road.
2 – Tierney breaks out
Voted once as the smartest player in the OHL, Tierney surely realized that he might have to pick it up a bit to remain in the lineup. The third line center entered Thursday night with just one goal and two assists in his last 21 games, and with Tomas Hertl scheduled to move back to that role at some point, and Ryan Carpenter playing well, his spot was potentially in jeopardy.
He scored a pair of goals against Vancouver, his first multi-goal game of the season, and recorded five shots, tied for the team lead. He'll be a guy to keep an eye on over the next few weeks, as the Sharks coaching staff continues to enjoy the results of having strong internal competition.
3 – Jones the star
While Marleau was rightly in the spotlight, Jones was called the Sharks’ best player of the evening by DeBoer. The goalie made his best saves in second period, after the Canucks got going following a lethargic first, likely due to them having a full week off for the All-Star break.
“We had a good start. The second definitely wasn’t our best period,” Joe Pavelski said. “Joner bailed us out and made some huge saves along the way to keep that lead for us. It was nice to be able to add on a couple at the end.”
Jones’ 27th win ties him for second in the league, while his 2.19 goals-against average places him sixth.
Considering his stats – including how many minutes he’s played this season – could Jones get into the Vezina Trophy conversation at some point? Sergei Bobrovsky and Devan Dubnyk are the top two candidates at this point, but if Jones keeps playing the way he has been, he may get more attention for that postseason honor.