SAN JOSE – President Woodrow Wilson was preparing for the United States' entry into World War I, and the cost of a loaf of bread was nine cents when the Ottawa Senators’ Cy Denneny recorded his fourth multiple-goal game to start the season in 1917-18.
Ninety-six years later, the Sharks’ Patrick Marleau has equaled that feat, becoming just the second NHL player to do so. Marleau has two goals in each of the Sharks’ first four games – all wins – and leads the league with eight. His two first period power play markers were all the Sharks needed on Saturday afternoon at HP Pavilion in a 4-0 win over Colorado.
“I’ll keep taking them if they keep coming, that’s for sure,” Marleau said.
Joe Thornton, who has an assist on six of Marleau’s goals, said: “That’s a long time. 100 years? What can I say? The guy is unbelievable. He’s in great shape, loves to score goals, and is in the right area. All the goals are in the blue paint, so he’s getting dirty scoring those goals.”
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While the Sharks’ forward probably won’t finish with 96 goals this season, which is what he’s on pace for, head coach Todd McLellan sees no reason for a drop in Marleau’s significant early production.
“He can keep it up. He can keep playing the way he’s playing. I don’t know if he can keep scoring two goals every night, but he can keep his play up the way its been,” McLellan said. “He’s been skating extremely well, a ton of confidence, he’s prepared to shoot the pucks, and he’s engaged physically. It’s a great reward for him. He came focused to play.”
Greiss notches first shutout
Lost a bit between Marleau’s history making and Brad Stuart’s bone-rattling hit of Gabriel Landeskog, was goaltender Thomas Greiss’ first NHL shutout. It took 39 games over parts of four seasons for the 26-year-old to blank an opponent.
Greiss stopped all 24 shots directed his way from Colorado sticks. He had some help, as Sharks defenders did a good job of clearing pucks from dangerous areas in front of the net - something McLellan said was a focal point.
“It was great. I always had to just make the first save, and they took care of the rest,” Greiss said. “They blocked a lot of shots, too, and made my life easy today. We scored a couple goals, too, to make me feel more comfortable.”
The affable Greiss should get plenty of work in the 48-game season, as the Sharks play nine back-to-backs. Antti Niemi will presumably return for Sunday’s game against Vancouver.
“The guys like playing in front of him. He’s a real likeable guy, and he’s a fun guy to be around,” Thornton said of Greiss.
Souvenir puck for Irwin
Matt Irwin’s goal late in the second period essentially sealed the Sharks’ fourth straight win to start the season, something they haven’t done since 2008-09. It was the 25-year-old rookie’s first goal in the NHL, and came on a slap shot from just inside the blue line.
“I came off the bench on a change, and just went to my point,” he said. “The puck slid out off the half wall, and I just hit it as hard as I could and it found its way home.”
Irwin wasn’t exactly sure where the puck was after the game, but mentioned he’d be sending it home to his parents in British Columbia.
Sharks forward Scott Gomez played more than 15 minutes in his first game since joining the team as an unrestricted free agent. It didn’t take long for him to get involved, although it wasn’t how he would have preferred. Gomez took a big hit from Colorado’s Patrick Bordeleau behind the Sharks’ net in his first shift.
“I knew it was coming, the guy was pretty big and I was just like ‘oh, here we go.’ It definitely got you on the game right away,” Gomez said.
He very nearly had his first goal, but couldn’t quite find the handle on a puck that rebounded hard off of the back boards. Gomez was standing at the side of the net when he tried to stuff it in behind Jean-Sebastien Giguere.
“I was thinking about what celebration I would do, and the next thing I knew the guy hit my stick,” Gomez deadpanned. “Just one of those things where [the defenseman] got me right at the end.”
Gomez centered the Sharks’ second power play unit, logging more than five minutes with a man advantage.
“I think you can see his creativity and patience with the puck. He should make our power play unit there a little bit stronger. At the end of the day, he seemed to be enjoying the game,” McLellan said.
Todd McLellan notched his 199th career win as a head coach, all with the Sharks. … San Jose's 10 power play goals in the first four games of a season is a new franchise record. The previous record of nine was set in 2006-07 (Credit: Elias Sports Bureau). … San Jose's 19 goals in the first four games of a season is a new franchise record. The previous record of 17 goals was set in both 1995-96 and 1999-00 (Credit: Elias Sports Bureau). … The Sharks recorded a season-high 43 shots in the game. … Patrick Marleau had a game-high seven shots. … The Sharks were 32-28 in the faceoff circle, and have won that battle in all four games. … Matt Irwin had six of the Sharks’ 23 blocked shots.