Without the guidance of their head coach, the San Jose Sharks left Pittsburgh in the same fashion that they arrived, and did it with a little fanfare. Veteran forward Patrick Marleau recorded his 1,000th NHL point in the Sharks 3-1 victory. With the win, the Sharks now sit with a record of 5-0 while on their season-long six-game road trip.
Rookie Joonas Donskoi continued to build off his impressive play of late, scoring a goal. Paul Martin recorded an assist and a goal of his own in an impressive homecoming to Pittsburgh; defense partner Brent Burns scored twice in the game. Burns skated 24:26 of ice time on Saturday night, and it didn’t go unnoticed by the Penguins.
“He is an absolute animal,” defenseman Ben Lovejoy told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
“He’s a guy who has such an impact on every game, every night,” center Matt Cullen said. “Talk about skills set, along with a big body that can fly. He’s got it all. He shoots the puck. He handles the puck. He makes plays.”
Martin Jones made 38 saves, and is now tied for the league lead with his 11th win of the season.
Marleau became the 83rd NHL player to record 1,000 points with his assist of Burns’ goal 7:54 into the game. It was his 1,349th game. The record, impressive enough as it stands, does not include the over-100 postseason points Marleau has tallied. After, he reflected on the milestone, and the reaction from his teammates.
“You never know what it’s about until it’s done and over with,” Marleau said. “Just having everybody come up, congratulating me and throwing different numbers out there, it kind of takes shape how big this is.”
In a rare twist, Marleau’s 1,000th point came in the same city that introduced him to the NHL. In 1997, he was selected second overall in the draft, which was held at the now demolished Pittsburgh Civic Arena. In a true act of class, the Penguins recognized Marleau’s accomplishment Saturday, prompting a round of applause for the visiting player.
Before the game, it was announced that head coach Peter DeBoer would be absent from the game, citing personal matters. In his place, assistant coach Steve Spott gave his opinion on Marleau’s achievement.
“You think about the players and the history of the game and to be the 83rd player to do that is something special.”
The Penguins have struggled to find scoring for much of the season — but was coming off back to back wins where it scored four goals. In the game, they recorded a season-high 39 shots against the Sharks and had six power plays totaling more than 10 minutes. Phil Kessel was the only Penguin to find the back of the net, scoring a power play goal during the second period. The total could have been much higher, San Jose skaters blocked 22 shot attempts in the game.
According to CSNBayArea’s Kevin Kurz, it remains unclear whether head coach Peter DeBoer will return for the teams road trip finale against the Blue Jackets on Sunday. The aforementioned Spott and assistants Bob Boughner and Johan Helberg handled duties behind the Sharks bench on Saturday.
On another bright note, Sharks forward Logan Couture, who has been sidelined since fibula surgery, returned to the ice on Saturday morning. He was spotted at the morning skate in full gear for the first time since his Oct. 17 surgery.