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Marleau leads in more ways than one
Captain scores two versus Flames
1/28/04 - by Mike Lee

To some, Patrick Marleau already is the de facto leader of the Sharks. So by extending his role as team captain for an additional 10 games, the burden of official savior inches itself a step closer to reality. Marleau responded to the news by breaking out of a season long scoring slump with two goals to lead San Jose to a 4-1 win over the visiting Calgary Flames at HP Pavilion on Wednesday night. Marleau last tallied a goal on January 10th in a 5-2 win over the Atlanta Thrashers.

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1 2 3 T
CGY 0 1 0 1
SJ 1 1 2 4
1st period - S.J, RATHJE (1) (MCCAULEY, EKMAN), 06:49
2nd period - CGY, GELINAS (11) (DONOVAN, CONROY), 03:09 S.J, MARLEAU (19) (STURM, DAMPHOUSSE), 09:54
3rd period - S.J, MARLEAU (19) (STURM, DAMPHOUSSE), 17:09 S.J, THORNTON (9) (MARLEAU, CHEECHOO), 19:50
1st period - CGY, REGEHR, 11:18 - Hi stick CGY, GELINAS, 13:13 - Slashing S.J, RATHJE, 14:59 - Hi stick S.J, RATHJE, 14:59 - Hi stick
2nd period - CGY, REGEHR, 18:34 - Hi stick CGY, KOBASEW, 18:34 - Fighting (maj) S.J, DIMITRAKOS, 18:34 - Fighting (maj) S.J, DAMPHOUSSE, 19:28 - Hooking
3rd period - CGY, CONROY, 05:38 - Holding
  Shots Saves
CGY - Turek 34 31
CGY - empty 1 0
SJ - Nabokov 19 18
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
CGY 8 6 5 19
SJ 12 12 11 35
Power Play Conversion
CGY 0 of 3
SJ 0 of 4
3 Stars of the Game
Patrick Marleau
Marco Sturm
Mike Rathje
Sharks head coach Ron Wilson has been experimenting with a rotating captain scheme that has helped the Sharks find their identity as a team this season. Wilson strayed from the scheme a bit on Wednesday by keeping the C on Marleau's sweater for the next three weeks.

Marleau responded with his 20th and 21st goals of the season to help the Sharks knock off Darryl Sutter's Flames. The Sharks were also exacting a little revenge on their former coach, after Sutter took the first two meetings of the year in Calgary.

Regardless of the two earlier defeats to the Flames this season, the Sharks stuck to their game plan and got to Calgary netminder Roman Turek early. Mike Rathje scored his second goal of the season seven minutes into the game, by snapping a shot from the high slot. Rathje was assisted by former Shark Shean Donovan, who screened Turek's line of sight, allowing the puck to slip past Turek's left arm.

Martin Gelinas knotted the game at 1-1 early in the 2nd period with a snap shot that beat Evgeni Nabokov from the top of the left circle.

Marleau would kick it into high gear midway through the period by taking a lead pass from Marco Sturm at the Flames blueline and beating Turek 1-on-1 with a shot that split the Calgary goaltender's pads.

Both teams played a tight defensive game throughout most of the 3rd period, keeping the 15,000 plus in attendance on their edge of their seats. Sturm and Marleau would hook up again with less than three minutes remaining in regulation on a play that brke Calgary's back. Marleau broke for the goal after skating past Sturm from the right wing boards through the center of the right circle. Marleau then tapped in a pass that Sturm threaded through the slot.

Marleau would also earn an assist on an empty net goal by Scott Thornton in the waning moments of the game to notch a three point night.

The Sharks retained their six-point lead in the division with Dallas coming from behind to beat the Ottawa Senators.

Play of the Game
Marleau's goal that put the Sharks up 3-1 late in the contest was by far one of the prettiest goals scored by the Sharks all season. The Sharks captain had to do little more than redirect the puck after Sturm sent a perfect pass across the ice.

The Turning Point
The Flames are by no means an offensive juggernaut, but the Sharks set the tone early by clamping down on the Calgary offense. Jerome Iginla had two of the Flames eight shots on goal in the 1st period, but that's all Iginla would challenge Nabokov with the rest of the evening. Calgary didn't record a second shot on goal until after the five minute mark of the 1st period.

Save of the Game
Turek was peppered by the Sharks for 35 shots on the evening, and the game was much closer than the score would indicate. His play was solid considering the support he received up front from his defense.

Box Scores Do No Justice
San Jose dodged a bullet late in the 1st period when Rathje was whistled for a high sticking double minor. The Flames would only get three shots on goal during their four-minute power play.

Honorable Mention
Nice job by right wing Niko Dimitrakos during a scrap with Chuck Kobesaw late in the 2nd period. Kobesaw was sore that Dimitrakos laid a hit along the left wing boards then left in the dust as a scoring chance opened up for the Sharks. Robyn Regehr hooked Dimitrakos on the way to the net, then Kobesaw tried to draw Dimitrakos into a matching penalty, but all he ended up getting was a couple of lumps after the two dropped the gloves. Dimitrakos finished off the dance with a right hook that caught Kobesaw squarely on the chin.

"He's improved every year. Look at his numbers. Every year, he has made progress. He's a real star now. He's a skater and a star." - Flames head coach Darryl Sutter

"When you think that he's been playing with a high ankle sprain and he still wants to go out there ... that's a true sign of leadership. Maybe lesser people on other teams would say, 'I'm not going to go out there unless I'm 100 percent.' That's not Patty." - Sharks head coach Ron Wilson

"It's not really just one guy in the room. It's a lot of guys stepping up and saying things. We have a lot of leaders on this team." - Patrick Marleau

The Sharks have now won nine games in the month of January. Consider they won nine games in all of January and February combined last season.

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