SAN JOSE – In their second straight game that featured a combined nine goals, the Sharks downed the Red Wings to snap their three-game losing streak ahead of some important games this week. Here are our three primary takeaways from the 6-3 victory over the Red Wings on Saturday…
1 – Marleau surging
While the so-called “captain’s line” did some good things after Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski were put together in late November, Marleau was probably never going to be the long-term solution on that line, which already looks more dangerous with Timo Meier on the left wing.
But Marleau deserves credit for taking in stride his getting bumped to the third line with Chris Tierney and Joel Ward. He has arguably been the team’s best forward in the past two games, scoring a goal in each, and his 12 goals on the season is tied with Logan Couture for third on the team. Nine of Marelau’s goals have come at even strength, too, after he had just 14 last season.
He is seven goals away from 500 for his career, and it looks more and more like he’ll reach that milestone this season.
Does he feel like he’s on a pretty good run?
"Yeah, it's starting to go in,” he said. “It's one of those things, you keep playing hard and keep playing the system, and going to the right spots."
2 – Goals there, but defense still suspect
The Sharks have scored 10 combined goals in their last two games, which is a good sign, but they’ve also given up eight. As satisfying as Saturday’s win must have been for the group, which surely knew it hadn’t scored more than four all year, it’s still all too obvious the Sharks are missing their best defensive defenseman in Marc-Edouard Vlasic and second best puck-moving defenseman in David Schlemko.
Temporary recall Mirco Mueller got on the board with a howitzer of a slap shot in the late in the first period, giving the Sharks at 2-1 lead at the time. Conversely, though, Mueller didn’t play for a 15-minute stretch in the third period after he was on the ice for Anthony Mantha’s goal.
The defenseman said after the game he’s not thinking about trying to fill in for Vlasic, who is essentially irreplaceable.
“Not really,” he said. “If they need me I’m ready, I think. I’ll play my game. I’m trying to step in as good as I can.”
3 – Boedker gets one
Sharks coach Pete DeBoer is doing everything in his power to try and get the team’s biggest offseason addition going, including scratching Mikkel Boedker last Thursday against Minnesota. The 27-year-old returned against the Red Wings on the fourth line with Tommy Wingels and Melker Karlsson, playing 13-and-a-half minutes.
His goal in the third period wasn’t the prettiest of his career, as he said Brent Burns’ shot ended up deflecting in off of his jersey. But, he’ll take it, as it ended a two-month long drought without one.
Boedker was asked if it was especially satisfying getting a goal after getting scratched the previous game, a decision that he admitted on Saturday morning he didn’t agree with.
"Definitely you want to come in and contribute, and come in and see if we can help the team win, and we did that tonight,” Boedker said.
Perhaps they start coming in bunches now, as they saying goes.
"They always seem to, in some ways,” he said.