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Home opener proves to be a thriller
Marleau continues hot hand - scores game winner
1/24/13 - By Mike Lee -

The Sharks returned to the friendly confines of HP Pavilion on Thursday night to kick off their home season and begin rebuilding a relationship with their fan base that was left in the lurch for four months during the league imposed lockout. The franchise made it painfully apparent that they have some work to do to rebuild a rapport with their customers, apologizing at every opportunity. The product on the ice helped to ease fans back into a reconciliatory frame of mind. Comeback wins in the 3rd period have a way of making things better.

After falling behind 3-1 to the Phoenix Coyotes with 12 minutes and change to play, the Sharks went on a rampage, scoring four unanswered goals to stun the Coyotes 5-3. Patrick Marleau continued his offensive tear, scoring a pair of goals for the third consecutive game, including the game winner with 1:53 to play.

It was the 57th time in his career that Marleau scored multiple goals in a hockey game. His first of the evening came less than 2 minutes after Phoenix took a two goal lead early in the 3rd period. Marleau stuck his nose in the front of the net and swept home a Joe Thornton pass from the left side at 9:15 of the period. Rookie defenseman Matt Irwin earned his first NHL point on the play by digging the puck out of the left corner and feeding Thornton.

Marleau scored his game winner late after Thornton gained possession of the puck after back-checking in the neutral zone and sent a pass to Joe Pavelski at the Phoenix blueline. Pavelski was able to stab at the puck and push it to the right side as Marleau swept into the zone. Coyotes goaltender Jason Labarbera had a clear look at Marleau, but the Sharks forward released the puck so quickly after Pavelski dished it, that he was late to react.

"The guys that were able to get us over the hump were the guys that we count on and they showed up and played hard when we needed them," said Sharks head coach Todd McLellan.

San Jose took a 1-0 lead into the 1st intermission after Logan Couture deflected a Pavelski shot from the slot past Labarbera, after Derek Morris was sent off for cross checking. San Jose's lead could have been larger, had they converted on a 5-on-3 power play earlier in the period, but the Sharks stumbled with the puck.

Phoenix was more effective with their own two-man advantage in the 2nd period after T.J. Galiardi incurred a 4-minute penalty for high sticking at 4:16 and Andrew Desjardins followed him off for his own high sticking infraction a minute later. The Sharks also had the misfortune of trying to kill both penalties in the zone farthest from their bench. Brad Stuart, Douglas Murray and Michal Handzus couldn't get off the ice, and came within 12 seconds of having Desjardin's penalty expire, but Steve Sullivan converted for Phoenix at 7:11 of the period to tie the game.

Antoine Vermette gave the Coyotes the 2-1 lead at 5:01 of the 3rd period on another power play chance after Thornton was called for hooking. Vermette fired a shot from the left dot an instant after Shane Doan bumped Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi. Doan clearly made contact with Niemi, knocking him off his skates, but no goaltender interference was called.

Lauri Korpikoski pushed the Phoenix lead to two goals 87 seconds later, by putting a shot on net from the bottom of the left circle. The puck caught Niemi in the right shoulder, before deflecting into the air and bouncing off the Sharks netminder's back and rolling into the goal.

After Marleau scored his first of the game, Martin Havlat tied the game at 13:06 on a rebound from behind the left post. Ryane Clowe bounced a shot off the post, after Havlat fed him the puck from the end boards. With the puck sitting to Labarbera's right, Havlat swooped in and banked a shot off the Phoenix goaltender into the goal for this 2nd tally of the season.

Marleau's heroics gave San Jose the lead at 18:07, which forced Phoenix to pull their goaltender. He then sealed the deal by drawing Keith Yandle into taking a hooking penalty in the final minute to nullify the extra attacker.

Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett was forced to try and score the equalizer without a goaltender on the ice, which allowed Thornton to score and empty netter with 2.8 seconds left in regulation.

"We gave it away, we had the game, we had control of the game, we were playing the way we wanted to, we were controlling every real aspect of the game and I just gave it away," said Doan.


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1 2 3 T
PHO 0 1 2 3
SJ 1 0 4 5
1st period - 1, SJ, Couture 3 (Pavelski, Thornton), 19:22, (pp).
2nd period - 2, PHO, Sullivan 4 (Vrbata, Boedker), 7:11, (pp).
3rd period - 3, PHO, Vermette 2 (Sullivan, Morris), 5:01, (pp). 4, PHO, Korpikoski 2 (Gordon, Moss), 7:28. 5, SJ, Marleau 5 (Thornton, Irwin), 9:15. 6, Havlat 2 (Clowe, Couture), 13:06. 7, SJ, Marleau 6 (Pavelski, Thornton), 18:07. 8, SJ, Thornton 1 (Pavelski, Marleau), 19:57, (pp) (en).
1st period - Stone, PHO (holding), 4:42; Emkan-Larsson, PHO (delay of game - puck over glass), 5:21; Sheppard, SJ (interference), 16:34; Morris, PHO (cross checking), 19:17.
2nd period - Galiardi, SJ (high sticking - double minor), 4:16; Desjardins, SJ (high sticking), 5:22; Michalek, PHO (slashing), 11:54; Havlat, SJ (slashing), 19:58.
3rd period - Sullivan, PHO (interference), 0:51; Sullivan, PHO (unsportsmanlike conduct), 0:51; Thornton, SJ (hooking), 3:09; Yandle, PHO (hooking), 19:01.
Shots Saves
PHO - Labarbera 34 30
PHO - empty net 1 0
SJ - Niemi 35 32
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
PHO 9 13 13 35
SJ 15 2 18 35
Power Play Conversion
PHO 2 of 6
SJ 2 of 7
3 Stars of the Game
Patrick Marleau
Joe Thornton
Logan Couture
Referees: Martell, Kozari. Linesmen: Wheler, Nelson.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees


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