Sharks' Marleau helps Canada triumph in Olympic opener

Sharks' Marleau helps Canada triumph in Olympic opener
February 13, 2014, 11:45 am
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Patrick Marleau registered the only Sharks point in the Olympic openers, collecting an assist for Team Canada. (USATSI)

Programming note: Stay up to the minute with all developing stories around the Sochi Olympics with NBC Sports’ OlympicTalk blog

It was a good start for three Sharks Olympians on Thursday in Sochi.

Joe Pavelski’s Team USA skated to a dominating 7-1 win over Slovakia, while Patrick Marleau and Marc-Edouard Vlasic were a part of a much less convincing 3-1 win for the Canadian team against Norway.

The Americans played first, with the puck dropping at 4:30 a.m. PST. They used a six-goal second period to rout the Slovaks, although Pavelski did not get on the scoresheet and was the lone player to finish with a minus rating (-1). Pavelski, who centered the Maple Leafs’ James van Riemsdyk and Phil Kessel, also saw some time on the point on the power play. He won 12 of 13 faceoffs, and tied for the team lead with four shots on goal in just over 13 minutes of ice time.

[RECAP: USA 7, Slovakia 1]

Later Thursday, Canada took some time to look comfortable against Norway, which features just one current NHL player. After a scoreless first, Canada got two in the second period to take a 2-0 lead, and then in the third Drew Doughty’s goal restored a two-goal cushion in making it 3-1.

Marleau registered an assist on Doughty’s goal, in which the Los Angeles defenseman cut through the slot and lifted a perfect shortside backhander past Norway goalie Lars Haugen. Marleau led the Canadians with five shots on goal and finished +1. He played mainly with Anaheim’s Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry.

Only Jonathan Toews had more ice time among Canadian forwards than Marleau’s 15 minutes and 50 seconds.

Vlasic was scoreless with a +1 rating in 12:59, paired primarily with Doughty.

[RECAP: Canada 3, Norway 1]