Marleau Finding the Twine
While the San Jose Sharks got scoring from up and down the lineup in their 6-3 win over the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday, the most noteworthy goal scorer was Patrick Marleau. The career Shark has been snake bit this year with the most unlucky season of his career. Typically a 30 goal scorer, Marleau was on pace for just 15 goals heading into the 49th game of the season. Marleau’s shot totals however have remained as consistent as any other season and it was only a matter of time. With the goal, a re-direct in the high slot to put the Sharks up 3-1 in the second period, Marleau now has three goals in his past five games and seven points overall.
“He made some good plays tonight” commented Joe Pavelski on Marleau’s effort. “The first goal sending it down to Jumbo, he creates that one and the tip is good to see, he was skating, he’s been playing good, playing hard. He’s getting his chances and been scoring the last few games. I’m sure it will continue.”
Marleau as he usually does, deflected credit when asked if he feels the bounces are going his way.
“That was a great play by Burnsie” responded No.12. “Second one I have got this year from him just getting a stick on it, so great play by him.”
Head coach Todd McLellan was tad more helpful in recognizing that Marleau deserves the change in fortune.
“We talked about [Marleau] working hard to score and then [finally] scoring, you know he’s been going to the blue paint and the net was falling off [so some bad luck]. He’s been shooting as much as he normally has so finally pucks are going in” commented McLellan. “Three weeks ago he could play the exact same game, get the same chances and it didn’t [go in]. For us to have success he has to find his way on the scoreboard and he’s been doing that lately.”
On the season Marleau is still averaging three shots per game, a pace of about 250 for the season which is the same shot total that saw him score 30 goals during the 2011-12 season. The average is slightly down from a year ago but 250 is still a very solid number for a top-six scoring winger. Again, it was just a matter of time. For a good 20 plus games passes were just behind him or in his skates, shots were going wide or being robbed by goaltenders, it was everything you could think of it terms of bad goal scoring luck. Normally a 13% shooter, Marleau’s percentage had dropped down to less than 6% which is just unheard of for a goal scorer to drop that drastically from one season to the next. Law of averages dictates that more goals will start to come for Marleau and the Sharks will need every one of them moving forward. San Jose has struggled at five aside this year and Marleau’s bad luck has been a big reason for that. The Sharks have a lot of areas in which they can improve but Marleau finally putting the puck in the back of the net is a very good sign as the playoff push gets under way.