How Patrick Marleau's four-goal period connected him to Mario Lemieux


How Patrick Marleau's four-goal period connected him to Mario Lemieux

Programming note: Watch the re-air of Patrick Marleau's four-goal third period in the Sharks' 2017 win over the Colorado Avalanche tonight at 8 p.m. PT on NBC Sports California.

When Tomas Hertl scored four goals in his third career game, he became the third-youngest player in NHL history to accomplish the feat. When Patrick Marleau matched him three seasons later, the Sharks' all-time leader in goals, points and games played became the second-oldest in league history to do it, and the eldest ever to notch four goals in a win.

As of now, there have been 280 separate instances throughout NHL history in which a player has scored four goals in a single game. Of those 280, only 12 times has a player scored all four goals in a single period. Marleau was the 12th to add his name to that impressive list on Jan. 23, 2017 and the first to do it in almost precisely two decades.

Before Marleau scored four times against the Colorado Avalanche in the third period of San Jose's 5-2 victory that night -- including the first three in a span of 7:42 -- Pittsburgh Penguins Hall of Famer and co-owner/chairman Mario Lemieux was the most recent to do it, having scored four -- also in the third period of an eventual 5-2 win -- against the Montreal Canadiens back on Jan. 26, 1997. Lemieux, of course, recently acquired Marleau at the NHL trade deadline.

After Brent Burns got the Sharks on the board in the first period, Marleau provided all of the offense from that point on, and did so in a variety of ways.

His first goal came by way of a deflection. The second, on a wrap-around. For his natural hat trick, Marleau finished off a perfectly executed 2-on-1, and to etch his name in the record books, he capitalized on a breakaway.

Don't remember? Don't worry.

Tonight at 8 p.m., Marleau's standout performance -- in which he ended up with his fifth career regular-season hat trick, and moved within three goals of 500 -- will be re-aired on NBC Sports California. He has failed to score three goals -- much less four -- in any game since, but now sits at 562 career goals, which ranks 25th all time in NHL history.

Much as Marleau's return to the Sharks at the beginning of the current season provided San Jose and its fans with a much-needed feel-good development, so too can the re-airing of his memorable game be seen in the same light. With the NHL season currently paused due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we can all use a reminder of happier times right now.

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Watching arguably the most beloved player in Sharks franchise history do something that might never be topped?

Yeah, that'll do.

Sharks' Erik Karlsson adjusting well to new fatherhood amid NHL hiatus

Sharks' Erik Karlsson adjusting well to new fatherhood amid NHL hiatus

The last six months have been hectic for Sharks star Erik Karlsson.
It's not just the uphill hockey season, and thumb surgery, and the suspension of all sports in general. But it's also becoming a dad, and getting really good at … diapers.
“I can’t say that I’m a pro at it,” Karlsson joked. “Although I do change the diapers at night in the complete dark, and that can be a little tricky at times.”
Erik missed the first Sharks game of the season to be with his wife Melinda for the birth of their daughter, Harlow Rain. Now that hockey sits idle, the defenseman is substituting line changes with teammates for diaper changes with his daughter.
“I’m a little bit more of a risk-taker,” Karlsson said about his strategy. “I do believe if the diaper is full and she’s done, then she’s done.”
He also reaffirmed what every parent quickly learns: "Number ones" are much easier to handle than "number twos."
“It depends what type of number two, too,” Karlsson said. “Some are easier than others.”
Fatherhood of six months has already made Karlsson realize he’s changed.
“My patience, especially is a lot better, and the uncertainty of things,” Karlsson shared. “Not being able to plan as much ahead as you could before.”
Fortunately, Erik’s left thumb has recovered well since the injury and required surgery in mid-February. Meaning he’s not limited in dad-duties this summer.
“That’s been great, it was one of the things I didn’t really worry about to begin with, and I’m definitely not worried about it right now,” Karlsson explained. “If the season would have been on, I probably could have played a couple weeks ago.”

[RELATED: Bettman says NHL examining all options for restart]
This means the Norris winner should have no problem defending 2-on-1’s next season, just like he’s defending “twos” and “ones” this summer.
“At first, it made you gag sometimes, and now it doesn’t even phase me really.”

Sharks' Mario Ferraro reveals lesson learned in whirlwind rookie year

Sharks' Mario Ferraro reveals lesson learned in whirlwind rookie year

Mario Ferraro has surpassed the wildest of expectations in his rookie season with the Sharks, and it hasn't exactly been an uneventful one.

Since making the jump straight from college to the pros, the 21-year-old defenseman has witnessed a mid-season coaching change, the acquisition and eventual trading of a franchise legend, a seemingly endless string of serious injuries to roster cornerstones and -- oh yeah -- an indefinite pause of the NHL season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Not exactly your average rookie year.

Technically, Ferraro's rookie season hasn't come to an end -- at least not yet. Commissioner Gary Bettman said Tuesday that there currently is too much uncertainty for the league to be able to determine when the season might be able to resume, though he hopes to "know more by the end of April." In any case, even if San Jose was able to play out its remaining games, there are only 12 left. Considering the Sharks fell to the absolute bottom of the NHL standings right before the season was paused, an additional playoff run is entirely out of the question.

So, for all intents and purposes, we can't really consider Ferraro a rookie anymore. He has 61 career NHL games under his belt, so, really, that has been the case for a while.

Ferraro flew back to Toronto shortly before the Bay Area's shelter-in-place orders went into effect, and has been doing his best to stay in shape while living at his parents' house. In a recent discussion with NBC Sports California's Brodie Brazil, he described an important lesson that was crucial to his development as a rookie.

"I think one small thing that's actually not small at all when you really look at it," Ferraro said, "is just preparation and that mentality of staying even-keel the whole year. What I mean by that is not getting too high on the highs or too low on the lows. You have so many games and so many important games that if you have a good game one night, you better forget about it because you gotta do the same thing the next night. Or, vice versa, if you play poorly, you really gotta forget about it and bounce back strong.

"And it's not just from game to game -- it's from shift to shift. You're playing in a league that has really fast players, strong players. You can get exposed, and it's going to happen. People are going to make mistakes. I'm a defenseman, so I feel like you're more bound to make mistakes ... they're more glaringly obvious. From a mental perspective, you really have to learn to just kind of say, OK, it happened. Move on. Let's get back to my game and play hard."

While Ferraro is correct that no player is exempt from making mistakes, he didn't have too many glaring errors throughout his first season in the NHL -- or at least, he did a good job covering them up. He earned the trust of the coaching staff and was rewarded with additional opportunities, which he proved capable of handling. Over the last eight games before the season was paused, Ferraro averaged over 20 minutes of ice time per night.

[RELATED: Leonard reunited with college roommate Ferraro on Sharks]

In terms of mentors on the team, Ferraro specifically mentioned fellow defenseman Brent Burns as someone who has been tremendously helpful to him. And like seemingly everyone else in that locker room, Ferraro is a big fan of Joe Thornton. But ultimately, it has been a team effort in supporting Ferraro throughout his rookie year. It takes a village, after all.

"Nobody's counted out on this team," Ferraro explained. "They're all great guys. They've all taught me a ton this year, and we're really close. It has been a good learning curve for me."

While we're all focused on flattening the curve, it has long been evident that -- as a rookie -- Ferraro's wasn't very steep.