Marleau, Demers score two apiece in 5-2 Sharks win

San Jose Sharks

SAN JOSE
– Jason Demers and Patrick Marleau each scored two goals
Saturday night as the host San Jose Sharks rallied past the
Minnesota Wild 5-2 in a game dominated by successful power
plays.
SAN JOSE – Jason Demers and Patrick Marleau each scored two goals Saturday night as the host San Jose Sharks rallied past the Minnesota Wild 5-2 in a game dominated by successful power plays.

Until Marleau swiped a lofted pass from Dany Heatley into the net for the game’s final goal, all of the goals had been accomplished with an extra skater.

Marleau’s stroke from the bottom of the left circle left the winger with an NHL-best 37 goals. The win gave San Jose a three-point cushion over both Chicago, a 4-2 loser to Carolina, and Washington in the race for the top spot in the league.

Marleau connected on a shot from the left dot 13:14 into the third period to give San Jose a 4-2 lead. Wild Robbie Earl had been called for interference at 13:07, setting up the Sharks’ seven-second scoring play. Joe Thornton won the face-off to Joe Pavelski, who fed Marleau the puck in stride in the left circle. Marleau’s shot hit goalie Josh Harding on the right shoulder and dropped into the goal.

The first period was dominated by successful power plays. Minnesota went 2-for-2 with extra-skater opportunities to take a 2-1 lead. San Jose was good on 1-of-2 tries on the power play.

The Wild gained a 1-0 lead 6:25 into play. As Devin Setoguchi sat in the penalty box for delay of game, ex-Shark Owen Nolan made the home team pay by tapping a shot past goalie Evgeni Nabokov. Nolan’s 154th power play goal left him fifth among current skaters. Just prior to Nolan’s goal, San Jose had a good scoring chance when Scott Nichol and Demers took off on a 2-on-1 rush. When Nichol crashed to the ice after missing the net, Minnesota came right back with a 3-on-2 rush that Nolan finished successfully.

San Jose converted its second power play chance, tying the game at 11:30 with four seconds left on Martin Havlat’s tripping violation.

Demers, called up the San Jose roster after an injury to Marc-Edouard Vlasic Thursday, made his only shot of the period pay off when he took Ryane Clowe’s feed at the top of the right circle and whipped the puck into the top left corner of the net.

Minnesota retaliated with a go-ahead goal 1:55 into power-play time following Nichol’s holding call. The Wild controlled the puck behind San Jose’s net and took the 2-1 lead when Kyle Brodziak pushed a pass to Cal Clutterbuck at the top of the crease for the quick jam shot under Nabokov with 17.4 seconds left in the period.

The special teams concept continued in the second period.

Wild center Eric Belanger left his team short one skater when he barreled through Nabokov and was given a goaltender interference penalty at 1:40. Two shifts into the power play, Demers scored the equalizer at 3:15. A Wild attempt to clear the zone was thwarted when Demers skated inside the blueline, caught the puck and dropped it to the ice before one-timing a shot across the slot and inside the left post.

After San Jose survived Minnesota’s next power play, Pavelski netted his 15th goal of the season at 16:57 on a Shark power play. Marek Zidlicky left the Wild with the disadvantage with a slash on San Jose’s Jed Ortmeyer at 15:33. Marleau head-manned a pass to Pavelski in the neutral zone and the speedster went around the Wild defense to whip a shot from the left dot past Harding.

NOTES: Marleau, ninth in NHL scoring entering play, finished with three points (2-1)…Vlasic’s scratch from the line-up ended his streak of 253 games played…San Jose leads the overall series with Minnesota 16-13-5, including 9-7-2 in HP Pavilion.

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