Marleau's hat trick lifts Sharks over Avalanche

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Marleau's hat trick lifts Sharks over Avalanche

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DENVER -- Playing in the second half of a back-to-back, especially after an intensely physical affair the night before, its up to the leaders to get the team through nights where it may not be at its best.Patrick Marleau certainly qualifies as one of those influential few on the Sharks. With a three-goal performance keying a 4-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday night at Pepsi Center, its easy to see why.Marleau scored one goal in each of the three periods to record his first hat trick since November 27, 2009. The Sharks won their third straight game overall, including both road games this weekend after an emotional 4-1 win in Dallas on Saturday night.

Thats what you want out of a road trip like this, said Marleau. Two pretty hard fought games. Well take that, and now we have to carry it over.Its your big guys leading on days where the team maybe isnt playing as well as it can, or its a little lethargic, said Todd McLellan, noting that captain Joe Thornton had three assists on the night.With the score 1-1 after the first, Marleau scored his second of the night and Joe Pavelski added his team-leading 11th to give San Jose a two-goal lead at the second intermission.The Sharks took their first lead of the game when Marleau beautifully tipped in a low shot from Marc-Edouard Vlasic at 7:35 of the second period.That goal held up as the game-winner, and may have been a case of practice-makes-perfect.I got it up the wall and put it to the net as quickly as possible, said Vlasic, who had the primary assist on all three of Marleaus goals. Weve actually been practicing high tips, and Patty did a great job tipping it in.Later in the second, Thornton set up shop behind the net and fed Pavelski in the circle for a one-timer at 16:47. Overall, the Sharks have outscored the opposition 30-11 in the second period, including a combined 7-0 during their three-game winning streak.Thomas Greiss did the rest, finishing with 36 saves. The Avalanche outshot the Sharks 37-18 in all, although the defense corps did a good job for most of the night in keeping the shots to the outside and letting the goaltender track it down.Most of the shots were like from the blue line or the perimeter, said Greiss. It was pretty good. Most times I could see the puck right into my chest. It was a really good job by the D.Greiss improved to 4-3, and improved his goals-against average to 1.99 and save percentage to .929.Thats why we feel good about Thomas, because he can pitch those games, said McLellan.Greiss was making his first start since Nov. 12, when the Sharks failed to crack the scoreboard in a 3-0 loss to Phoenix their only defeat in the last six games (5-1-0).It was good to get a win again, especially after last game, to bounce back.The Sharks also played disciplined a necessity against the Avalanche, who sport the NHLs second best power play. Colorado was just 0-for-1 with a man advantage, while the Sharks were 1-for-6, with the one coming on Marleaus empty-netter with 43 seconds left.Some late minor penalties to Brandon Yip and Erik Johnson helped to nullify some momentum that was building for the Avalanche, when they were applying their best offensive pressure of the night while trying to get back into the game.A couple penalties kind of backed them off a bit, said Vlasic. It gave us a little bit more momentum on the bench, and we were able to squeak out with a victory.The Sharks move into sole possession of first place in the Pacific Division for the first time this season with 25 points (12-5-1). They also have the highest winning percentage in the league at .694.Colorado opened the scoring the 12th time in 18 games the Sharks have allowed the first goal when Matt Duchesne tallied his ninth of the season. Colorados leading scorer turned around Douglas Murray in the offensive zone, before a cross-ice pass to Ryan Wilson. Wilson sent it back to Duchesne, who fired in a wrist shot past a diving Greiss at 7:25 of the first.The Sharks tied it shortly after on Marleaus first of the game. Just two seconds after a penalty expired to Colorados Gabriel Landeskog, Marleau charged toward the net and managed to slip in a pass from the point by Vlasic at 12:16.Vlasic was happy to see Marleau complete his fourth career hat trick with the empty-netter at the end.Hes been playing great. He gets a lot of points every year, but its the little things he does getting pucks out, winning battles along the wall, that dont show up on the scoresheet but the guys appreciate very much.He gets rewarded tonight which is nice to see. Hopefully there will be more to come. Im sure its a confidence booster for him, so Im sure hell keep shooting it even more now.The Sharks return home Wednesday night to host the Chicago Blackhawks.Odds and ends: The Sharks 18 shots was a season low. San Jose took just one penalty, an interference minor to Dan Boyle at 8:38 of the second period. Jean-Sebastien Giguere took the loss in net for Colorado, with 14 saves on 17 shots. San Jose won the faceoff battle, 33-21. Colin White and Justin Braun returned to the lineup for Jason Demers and Jim Vandermeer, who played in Dallas. Torrey Mitchell skated on a line with Marleau and Clowe, while Martin Havlat was with Michael Handzus and Jamie McGinn.

Sorensen returns to Sharks after having 'positive impact' last season

Sorensen returns to Sharks after having 'positive impact' last season

Editor's Note: The above video is from March 2, 2017

One of the Sharks’ young forwards expected to challenge for a full time roster spot this season has been re-signed.

Marcus Sorensen, who started the year in the AHL before working his way up to the Sharks, signed a two-year contract extension the team announced on Tuesday. A source told NBC Sports California that the deal is worth $700,000 at the NHL level for each of the next two seasons.

In 19 regular season games with the Sharks, Sorensen, 25, posted one goal and three assists. He appeared in all six playoff games against Edmonton, posting one goal and one assist.

In 43 games with the AHL Barracuda, Sorensen had 17 goals and 17 assists for 34 points.

"The time he spent with the Sharks this season, and the positive impact he had, proved that he can be an effective player at the highest level,” assistant general manager Joe Will said in a statement.

Sorensen originally signed with the Sharks as a free agent on May 13, 2016. He was originally drafted by Ottawa in the fourth round of the 2010 draft, but spent six seasons playing in Sweden before joining San Jose.

Sorensen was a restriced free agent. The Sharks have just one RFA left to sign in forward Barclay Goodrow.

https://twitter.com/sorensenmarcus/status/887412566447628288

Mailbag: Will Sharks miss Marleau's leadership? Thornton to be bumped?

Mailbag: Will Sharks miss Marleau's leadership? Thornton to be bumped?

Now that the dust has settled on the draft and free agency, here’s a meaty offseason Sharks mailbag before my vacation…

Who will replace Patty's leadership? (philip malan‏ @pmalan1979)

Patrick Marleau was a good example for other players in that he always came to camp in great shape and took care of himself between games, allowing him to be very productive into his later years. 

But let’s not overblow it. From what I understand, Marleau preferred to avoid confrontation, and was never the guy in the dressing room challenging other players to step up. That was left more to guys like Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski, with Logan Couture growing into that role in recent years, too. When it comes to veteran leadership there are other guys still in the dressing room of more value than Marleau. His leaving town shouldn’t change the dynamic.

Will Thornton be bumped from the top line center role? Who do you think will replace Marleau on the PP? (Elle‏ @LikeShiningOil)

The whole “top line” designation is something that us writers and broadcasters like to use, and I’m going to keep using it for Thornton so long as he and Pavelski are on the same line. That said, there will be plenty of games where the Couture line gets more even-strength ice time than the Thornton line. I guess my point here is don’t read too much into the labels. I don’t expect Thornton’s ice time to go down from what it was last season. He’s averaged 18 minutes and change in each of the past five seasons, and probably will again.

As for replacing Marleau on the power play, I would tab Tomas Hertl as the frontrunner, but I’m sure the Sharks will try a number of different looks there in training camp. After finishing 25th in the NHL last season they pretty much have to, right?

How will the lines roll this season, if you were to prognosticate now? (Erik Kuhre @Puckguy14)

It seems like we say this every year, but it depends on where the Sharks see Hertl slotting in. Last season Hertl started out on the wing of the top line after offseason knee surgery before moving to center fairly quickly. I know he battled through yet another knee injury during the season, but Hertl’s 22 points in 49 games was a disappointing total.

If the season were starting today, I’d put Hertl on the wing of the Thornton line again with, of course, Pavelski on the other side. Here’s what I’ve got in that scenario:

Tomas Hertl – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Timo Meier – Logan Couture – Joonas Donskoi
Jannik Hansen – Chris Tierney – Mikkel Boedker
Melker Karlsson – Ryan Carpenter – Joel Ward

Extras: Marcus Sorensen, Kevin Labanc, Barclay Goodrow

(One guy who is really going to have to fight to keep his spot is Ward. I could see him getting pushed out, but for now I’m leaving him in).

Will there be a tough guy in the lineup to protect the kids? (Jim Kelley)

The Sharks signed free agent Brandon Bollig a couple weeks ago to replace Micheal Haley, but I don’t seem him as a regular in the NHL lineup. Bollig could be a guy they recall if they think it’s necessary to dress a pugilist, like when Pete DeBoer brought up Haley late in the 2015-16 season for the sole reason of fighting Darnell Nurse, who had jumped Sharks defenseman Roman Polak just two weeks earlier for no real reason.

Do you think Chris Tierney is capable of more point production at this point in his career? (Ian Stephenson)

Count me among those that thought Tierney was ready to have a better season last year after his strong performance in the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Still, he’s just 23 years old, and his line in the series against Edmonton with Meier and Sorensen was a very effective one for long stretches of play. This is a huge year for Tierney, who had to settle for the Sharks’ one-year, $735,000 qualifying offer. Perform, and he’ll get paid. Struggle, and he could be on the move.

Do you think the Sharks will trade either Grosenick or Dell? Doesn't seem Grosenick has much more to prove in AHL. (Chris Greni)

No, they’ll hold on to all three for the time being. Getting Troy Grosenick re-signed to a one-year deal was a nice move on the Sharks’ part, considering Aaron Dell still has just 20 games of NHL experience. Perhaps if they both continue to play well the Sharks could dangle one as trade bait later in the year, but it wouldn’t make sense at this point. 

Any thoughts on DW using the offer sheet to bring in scoring help? There’s several serviceable RFAs out there still waiting for contracts. (Tony Martinico)

Keep in mind that some of those high end RFAs, like Colton Parayko, Nino Niederreiter and Tomas Tatar are currently headed for arbitration, which takes the offer sheet off the table.

Purely speculation here, but I have to wonder if the Sharks have at least kicked around trying to ink Leon Draisaitl to an offer sheet. You have to think Berlin native Hasso Plattner would love to add the “German Gretzky” to the roster. I know we're settling into the part of the NHL offseason where typically nothing happens, but it was July 19 when the Flyers signed Shea Weber to a monster offer sheet five years ago.

And, of course, Doug Wilson has used the power of the offer sheet in the past, signing Niklas Hjalmarsson in 2010 and then using the threat of an offer sheet with Boston to acquire Martin Jones.

Which Cuda player, aside from Meier, Labanc and Sorensen, would you expect to be a dark horse and could make the big team out of camp? (olin @sleepymofo)

Keep in mind that the sixth and defensemen spots are open, too. I would presume that Dylan DeMelo is the frontrunner to replace David Schlemko, but Tim Heed and Joakim Ryan are coming off of strong seasons in the AHL. Perhaps one of them overtakes DeMelo in training camp.

As for other forwards than those you mentioned, Goodrow could end challenging for a spot on the fourth line. I get plenty of questions about Danny O’Regan, too, and perhaps he makes a push. The issue with O’Regan is that although he’s a skilled player in the minors, he’s probably not quite skilled enough to make up for his small frame at the NHL level. I view him more as a fill-in guy.

Any word on [Barclay] Goodrow and [Marcus] Sorenson? I'm assuming they didn't sign their QO's? (DaveBPilot‏ @DaveBPilot)

Yes, that’s safe to assume, since the deadline was Saturday. They remain RFAs, and negotiations will surely continue.

Still, it’s worth mentioning what happened last year with Matt Nieto. The forward didn’t sign his qualifying offer, as he was pushing for a multi-year deal, and ended up signing for one year for less than he would have made had he accepted the original offer. He was waived and claimed by Colorado.