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Patrick Marleau returns to SJ
10/30/17 - By Mike Lee -

The Sharks favorite son came home on Monday night. Albeit for a short visit, but Patrick Marleau made his return to San Jose and the SAP Center as his Toronto Maple Leafs made their only stop in San Jose. After 19 seasons in teal, the prodigal son hot the ice in a foreign blue and white sweater that didn't seem to quite fit correctly. It wasnt's a storybook ending for Marleau, whose team dropped a 3-2 decision to San Jose, but it was an opportunity for fans and city to extend their appreciation to the longest tenured Shark in team history.

"It was extremely special to receive an ovation like that," Marleau said after the game. "Seeing all the signs around the rink. They showed me great support during my time here. It was special."

Marleau didn't get on the scoresheet, which was fine for the Sharks, who are looking to establish some consistency in their game. San Jose ended up winning the game, which was their second consecutive victory. Consecutive wins have been hard to come by for the Sharks early in the season, and the emotions and energy of Marleau's homecoming could have easily upended that.

Instead, San Jose turned in one of their best defensive performances of the season. The Sharks held the Maple Leafs to 18 shots in the game, but Toronto went a span of 16 minutes without recording a shot on goal.

All those emotions came to a head before the opening puck drop even happened. The Sharks honored Marleau with a video tribute before the game, highlighting some of his career highlights. The Sharks faithful gave Marleau a standing ovation for a good 2 minutes. The former Sharks captain stood by himself on the ice with a spotlight shining down on him, with his stick in the air to acknowledge the sellout crowd.

Toronto grabbed the lead 12:14 into the 1st period when Leafs phenom Auston Matthews grabbed a deflection in the slot and beat Martin Jones. Mathews was being blanketed by Logan Couture, but the forward shed the Shark before collecting a Nikita Zaitsev shot as he skated from right to left in front of the crease.

Joe Pavelski knotted the game at 1-1 7:58 into the 2nd period. Rookie defenseman Tim Heed ripped a shot from the right point that Pavelski redirected as he hovered in the low slot. The Sharks captain was back skating from right to left, getting his stick blade on the puck to direct it just inside the right post. Maple Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen tried to cut off the angle, but it found a narrow seem.

San Jose held the Maple Leafs to 2 shots in the 2nd period, suppressing the Toronto offense with a blanketing defense. It would take them 13 minutes and change to record their first shot in the 3rd period.

Dominic Moore gave the Sharks their third power play of the evening with a retaliatory cross check to Timo Meier. That setup power play pay dirt for the Sharks. Rookie defenseman Tim Heed rifled a shot from the right point that caught the top left corner of the net. Andersen barely flinched as the puck zipped over his right shoulder for the go-ahead goal.

With the Maple Leafs on cruise control for most of the period, San Jose was content to kill clock. That worked in the Sharks favor as they were able to keep the puck away from their own goal. Toronto finally kicked it into gear with 5 minutes to play.

Toronto was forced to pull Andersen with 2 minutes left in the game, which led to a goal that seemed to ice the game. Joel Ward recorded his 1st tally of the season on a shot from the front of the Maple Leafs penalty box into the unattended net.

Both teams should have just run down the remaining 2:13, but Toronto failed to oblige. Nazem Kadri converted with 70 seconds left in regulation by tipping an Andreas Borgman shot from the left point. Kadri cut across the front of the Sharks net as Pavelski had done on his goal earlier in the game, creating traffic in front of Jones.

Marleau's homecoming would come to a happy ending for the home crowd as the former Shark and his new team failed to bag the equalizer.

Game Notes:

* The Maple Leafs entered the game as the highest scoring team in the league, but the Sharks muzzled them with their best defensive showing of the season.

* Marleau was the only member of his family in attendance. His wife Christina was flanked by their four sons, who all flew back to California from Ontario to be in San Jose for the return. The entire family relocated to Toronto after Marleau signed his three year contract last summer.

* Marleau's line on the night: 25 shifts, 14:16 of ice time, 2 shots, 1 hit, 1 takeaway, 1-for-4 in the faceoff circle, and a -2 plus/minus. Not one of Marleau's better lines, but given all the pressure of his return it was understandable.


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1 2 3 T
TOR 1 0 1 2
SJ 0 1 2 3
1st period - 1, TOR, Matthews 9 (Zaitsev, Nylander), 12:14.
2nd period - 2, Pavelski 3 (Heed, Thornton), 7:58.
3rd period - 3, SJ, Heed 2 (Burns, Couture), 4:11, (pp). 4, SJ, Ward 1 (Tierney), 17:47, (en). 5, TOR, Kadri 7 (Borgman, Reilly), 18:50.
1st period - Martin, TOR (tripping), 16:24.
2nd period - Zaitsev, TOR (slashing), 17:29.
3rd period - Moore, TOR (cross checking), 2:57; Brown, TOR (interference), 8:05.
Shots Saves
TOR - Andersen 38 36
TOR - empty net 1 0
SJ - Jones 18 16
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
TOR 9 2 7 18
SJ 14 11 14 39
Power Play Conversion
TOR 0 of 0
SJ 1 of 4
3 Stars of the Game
Tim Heed
Frederik Andersen
Joe Pavelski
SAP Center - 17,562
Referees: O'Halloran, St Pierre. Linesmen: Heyer, Rody.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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