Marleau-led Sharks face Oilers with winning streak on line (Jan 26, 2017)
For 19 seasons, Patrick Marleau has been synonymous with the San Jose Sharks. Now, the future Hall of Famer is within two goals of a significant scoring milestone.
Marleau will try to become the second player this season and 45th overall to reach 500 goals and the Sharks look to push their longest winning streak of the season to seven games as they face the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday night in the league's final game before the All-Star break.
Selected second in the 1997 draft, Marleau has spent his entire career in teal, white and black, scoring at least 30 goals seven times with a career-best 44 in 2009-10.
Now 37 and set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, Marleau, who made his NHL debut against Edmonton nearly 20 years ago, is proving that he's still got something left in the tank.
He scored a career-best four goals in the third period -- including a natural hat trick -- in the Sharks' 5-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday. Marleau followed that up on Wednesday by scoring the game-winning goal with 4:32 to play in a 4-3 victory over the Winnipeg Jets.
"It's fun when the puck's finding you and you're putting them in the net," Marleau said.
The scoring surge has Marleau at 498 career goals. When he tallies No. 500, Marleau will join Marian Hossa of the Chicago Blackhawks, who did so on Oct. 18 against the Philadelphia Flyers.
"When you're out there, you're just focusing on playing hard, trying to get to certain areas to score, not letting your defensive game slip at all. You know it's there (500 goals) but as soon as that puck drops and you're on the ice you just play," Marleau told the league's official website.
Though he has not recorded a point in two matchups with Edmonton this season, Marleau has 37 goals in 74 career games -- his second-highest total against any team.
Another player Edmonton is going to want to shadow is Logan Couture, who's rebounded well from an illness that kept him out of San Jose's 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings on Jan. 18.
In four contests since then, Couture has two goals and three assists. Couture also has three goals and three assists in his last four games versus the Oilers.
San Jose (31-16-2) also will try to win four straight at home for the third time this season, and recent history indicates the team will extend that run. The Sharks have beaten the Oilers twice this season and are 7-1-1 in the last nine meetings at SAP Center.
San Jose has yielded just one power-play goal in 21 chances over that span. On Dec. 23, the Sharks killed off all six of Edmonton's power-play chances in their 3-2 overtime win.
The Sharks are expected to turn back to Martin Jones in goal before he heads to Los Angeles for Sunday's All-Star game. Jones has won four consecutive starts and is 6-1-0 with a 2.42 goals-against average in his last seven overall.
In two career wins over Edmonton while with San Jose, Jones has turned away 40 of 43 shots.
The Sharks are expected to have Tomas Hertl back in the lineup for the first time since Nov. 17. Hertl, who has four goals and five assists in 17 games, suffered a knee injury and later underwent surgery that sidelined him for 31 games.
Hertl set career bests with 21 goals and 25 assists in 81 contests last season.
Edmonton (27-15-8) heads to northern California in position to sweep a three-game road trip and looking for its seventh win in eight games. Leon Draisaitl scored twice and Cam Talbot made 26 saves for his first shutout in more than two months as the Oilers topped the Anaheim Ducks 4-0.
Though the Oilers are in third place in the Pacific Division, they could move up. With 62 points, Edmonton is one point behind the second-place Ducks and two points behind the Sharks.
"They're all going to be important from here on out," Edmonton forward Zack Kassian said. "Our division is so tight and you can't take any nights off."
The Oilers have scored 11 goals through the first two games of their road trip, but their offense hasn't produced much against San Jose so far. Connor McDavid -- the league leader with 41 assists and 57 points -- leads the team with a goal and an assist, and 10 other players have registered one point each.
McDavid has been hot lately, posting two goals and five assists in a five-game points streak. He's also recorded points in five straight road contests, totaling a goal and six assists.
Jordan Eberle, who broke out of a prolonged slump with a career-high-tying four points in a 7-3 win over the Calgary Flames on Saturday, was held without a point against Anaheim. He's scored 11 goals with 12 assists in 26 career games versus the Sharks, but has one goal in the previous five matchups.
Talbot has been lit up for eight goals in two losses to the Sharks this season. Recently promoted backup Laurent Brossoit could start, however, he's just 1-5-1 with a 3.29 GAA in seven career games.
Brossoit made his NHL debut against the Sharks on April 9, 2015, and stopped a career-high 49 shots in the Oilers' 3-1 loss in Edmonton.
The NHL will resume play on Tuesday night with 14 games.