Sharks thrilled but not surprised by Patrick Marleau's goals in return

Sharks thrilled but not surprised by Patrick Marleau's goals in return

If there's a bar set for players who join a team without participating in training camp and miss the first few games of a season, Patrick Marleau just raised it pretty high.

The announcement that Marleau would rejoin the Sharks was met with mass excitement from the fan base, but it still was anyone's guess as to how the 40-year-old winger would perform in his return to the franchise, especially after he hadn't played in a game since last spring.

Marleau then went out and scored two goals in San Jose's 5-4 win over the Chicago Blackhawks.

Needless to say, his teammates were thrilled but not necessarily surprised.

"I've seen it so many times, I'm not surprised at all," Sharks center Joe Thornton told the press after the Sharks' victory. "I've seen it so many times, and it puts a smile on my face."

Both of Marleau's goals were period-ending markers that allowed the Sharks to skate into intermission with the score tied. For a team that had yet to hold a lead through the first four games of the season, getting those two game-tying goals helped keep San Jose in the contest.

Thornton called both of Marleau's goals "good momentum-changers" for the Sharks.

"He's a goal-scorer -- that's what he does," Thornton said. "Getting a 500-goal-scorer five games into the year was huge for us. It was the boost we needed tonight."

That boost also was evident on the stat sheet, where Marleau led all Sharks skaters with six shots on goal and all Sharks forwards with five hits.

"He's just such an unbelievable skater," Sharks defenseman Brent Burns said. "He creates so much, he's so strong on the puck. It was great to see him have a huge night."

The two skaters were instrumental in producing San Jose's fourth goal of the night. Marleau worked around the net to set up Burns for a shot from the point, and then skated in front of Chicago netminder Corey Crawford to redirect the puck into the back of the net.

"He's always there," Burns said of Marleau's net-front presence. "He's going to the hard areas. He's winning battles. He just flies on the ice still. It's crazy to see."

Of course Marleau, true to form, didn't take much credit when asked about his performance.

"Playing with good players, they'll make you look good," Marleau said modestly. "Playing with those guys, it's pretty easy. They took care of me tonight."

[RELATED: Sharks encouraged by effort in win, but issues remain]

Whether he wants to admit it or not, Marleau was a key factor in the Sharks' win. Not bad for a guy who just played his first game of the season.

"What can you say about an athlete like that?" Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said. "No training camp. No exhibition games. And then show up and play a game like that and give us a boost at a critical time. That's why he's the player he is."

Watch Sharks' Joe Thornton tussle with Hurricanes goalie Petr Mrazek

Watch Sharks' Joe Thornton tussle with Hurricanes goalie Petr Mrazek

The Sharks went into Carolina, and a heavyweight title bout broke out.

Or at least that's how it sounded after San Jose's Joe Thornton sent Hurricanes goaltender Petr Mrazek flat on his back with a forearm shiver late in the second period Thursday night.

"And down goes Mrazek!"

Mrazek didn't take kindly to Thornton digging at the puck as the whistle was blown dead, and reacted by attempting to violently slash the Sharks forward. He missed, and, well, that was the insult before the injury. Thornton responded in kind, sending the netminder to the ice.

A closer look reveals that Mrazek can always take up acting if this goalie thing doesn't work out.

[RELATED: Watch Thornton, Caps' Wilson chirp after Kane ejection]

You've heard of 'old man' strength? Yeah, Thornton's got it.

Respect your elders.

Watch Sharks' Joe Thornton, Capitals' Tom Wilson talk trash on benches


Watch Sharks' Joe Thornton, Capitals' Tom Wilson talk trash on benches

The ice got a little hot Tuesday night in San Jose. Towards the end of the Sharks' 5-2 blowout loss against the Capitals, tempers began to flare. 

Sharks winger Evander Kane was ejected for elbowing Washington defenseman Radko Gudas in the head with slightly over five minutes left in the third period. Gudas' teammates Tom Wilson and Alex Ovechkin each took exception, with Wilson hitting Kane. 

Kane and Wilson were seen chirping all the way to their respective benches, with Kane exiting the game.

It didn't stop there, too. Sharks center Joe Thornton chimed in before Wilson hit him with a "kiss the ring" comeback. 

[RELATED: Kane fined $5K for elbowing Gudas in Sharks' blowout loss]

Kane avoided suspension, but received the maximum fine of $5,000 for his hit on Gudas. 

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