Marleau Scores #499, Hertl Nets Game-Winner in 3-1 Toppling of Blackhawks

January 31, 2017

NHL, San Jose Sharks

San Jose Sharks’ Patrick Marleau, center, celebrates a goal which was disallowed with teammates Mikkel Boedker (89) and Justin Braun (61) during an NHL hockey game against the Chicago Blackhawks Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

By Matthew Harrington

SAN JOSE–It had been a while since Tomas Hertl lit the lamp for the San Jose Sharks. In fact, when he last scored the Oakland Raiders seemed destined to move to Los Angeles, Hilary Clinton was the favorite to win the White House and Northern California was mired in a drought. The Czech forward ended his personal drought, scoring his first goal since October 27th, the game-winning goal with 2:03 left in San Jose’s 3-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks.

Hertl wasn’t the only one netting a goal of significance. Patrick Marleau scored his 499th career goal, then he didn’t, then he did all over again. Joe Pavelski had a three-point night capped with an empty net goal and Martin Jones made 24 saves to open up the unofficial second half of the season with a win for team teal.

Hertl’s game-winner, his first since returning to the lineup in the game prior to Sunday’s All-star festivities, broke a 1-1 tie late in the third. Pavelski fed Brent Burns at the point, with #88 blasting a rocket that rebounded off the boards. Hertl had positioned himself in front of netminder Corey Crawford, finding himself in perfect position to bang home the rebound for his 5th goal of the season. Pavelski would add the insurance goal, his 17th of the year, with 46 seconds remaining.

The Sharks nearly had a 2-0 lead after the second period, but a series of events negated a Patrick Marleau goal. Marleau carried the puck into the offensive zone with just over 11 minutes gone in the middle frame. He took a shot and dug up his own rebound behind the net, slipping the puck past Crawford for a momentary 1-0 lead. After video review, Mikkel Boedker lifted his skate over the blue line, pulling the play offsides and negating the goal.

The hockey gods intervened, rewarding Marleau a few minutes later with no. 499. With Artem Anisimov in the penalty box for tripping, the Sharks first power play unit took advantage. Marleau won the puck along the boards and fed it to Burns at the point. Burns’ blast bounced off Crawford’s pad where Marleau converted on the rebound, netting his 18th goal of the season with 5:54 left to play in the period. Pavelski and Burns each picked up their first of two assists on the play.

The lead would be short-lived with youngster Dennis Rasmussen going bar down to beat Jones for his 4th goal of the season with 3:07 left in the 2nd. The Sharks would hold on though, heading in to Thursday’s match-up with the Vancouver Canucks on a high note. This will be the first trip to Vancouver this season for the Sharks and the first meeting between the two teams.

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