Los Angeles Kings coach Terry Murray, left, looks at defenseman Jack Johnson during the first period of the Kings’ NHL hockey game against the Edmonton Oilers, Thursday, Dec. 23, 2010, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
At 37 years old and nearing 500 career goals, there aren’t a ton of things Patrick Marleau has failed to accomplish.* Still, he did something he’s never done – and few players have managed to do – in the San Jose Sharks’ 5-2 win against the Colorado Avalanche on Monday night.
The amusing thing is that it was a mundane night for Marleau and the Sharks heading into the third period.
They carried a 2-1 lead against the Avs before Marleau’s magical period really kicked into gear. In less than eight minutes of game time, Marleau managed an out-of-left-field natural hat trick:
He didn’t stop there, either, as he also hit the four-goal mark for the first time in his career … and again, it was in the same period.
That’s his first four-goal game (and period, naturally). It’s been a long, long time since someone enjoyed a period like Marleau did:
Speaking of history, this massive night indeed places Marleau close to another impressive feat. He’s now at 497 career goals, three away from the elusive 500 mark.
To underscore how unexpected this outburst was, consider this: Marleau generated zero goals and one assist in his previous seven games.
As the Sharks enjoy an era fueled by the ascent of Brent Burns and the passing of the torch from the likes of Marleau and Joe Thornton to a group including Logan Couture and Martin Jones, it seems fitting that Marleau – a player receding from the team’s spotlight – totally stole the spotlight on Monday.
The Sharks probably won’t complain, either. He helped them seal their fifth consecutive win, putting San Jose in a strong position to regain the lead in the Pacific Division.
Pretty good stuff from a guy who rapidly faded from relevance after being stripped of the Sharks captaincy.
* – How dare you make Stanley Cup jokes on a happy occasion for Sharks fans?
The Washington Capitals lead the league in standings points … and maybe in swagger. At least, it feels that way lately.
Monday presented their latest display of power as the Carolina Hurricanes had no answer for the Capitals machine. Washington clobbered Carolina by a score of 6-1, but at least the Hurricanes can take comfort in joining a rather large group of teams who’ve been humbled by Braden Holtby & Co.
This makes the Capitals 11-0-1 during a dominant run; they’ve scored at least a point in all but one game since Dec. 21.
Honestly, you can dice up their hot streak in a variety of ways, as Washington’s been outstanding since at least early December. Margin of victory might be the most jaw-dropping way to illustrate Washington’s dominant run:
Yep, that’s something else.
Hey, when you’re on fire like the Capitals have been lately, it’s probably tough to make some pretty bold comparisons.
As you likely know, the 2017 NHL All-Star Game is coming to Los Angeles this weekend. If the Kings don’t get it together, that might be the biggest hockey event for some time, as they’re currently on the outside looking in at the playoffs.
Monday presented what felt like a story of one cold streak continuing to fade away while the other only seems to get icier.
The positive side: Henrik Lundqvist might just be working through that slump.
The New York Rangers beat the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 on Monday, and it wasn’t a walk in the park for Lundqvist. He made 36 out of 38 stops, giving him a personal three-game winning streak in which he’s allowed just four total goals.
Some of those stops were pretty impressive, too:
(He also shut down a Jeff Carter breakaway, which is obviously no easy task.)
While Lundqvist is getting it together, the Kings might just be a little worried after dropping their fourth straight loss.
They’re at 48 points in 47 games, leaving them three points behind the West’s two wild card teams and two behind the Canucks.
The Kings have experience fighting through challenges like these, but they’ve also fallen short of getting into the West’s top eight, and their schedule is awfully road-heavy:
Tuesday: at Devils
Thursday: at Hurricanes
Tuesday, Jan. 31: at Coyotes
Wednesday, Feb. 1: vs. Avalanche
Saturday, Feb. 4: at Flyers
Sunday, Feb. 5: at Capitals
Tuesday, Feb. 7: at Lightning
Thursday, Feb. 9: at Panthers
Some of those opponents are struggling and the All-Star break might allow for a breather, but that could still be a problematic stretch, especially if the Kings are in a fragile state.
Then again, if they look at Lundqvist’s upward trend, they can note that fortunes can change pretty quickly in 2016-17.
If you had to describe the non-hockey celebrities who will be on hand for the weekend’s festivities for the 2017 NHL All-Star Game, you’d probably throw around terms like “young” and “surprisingly famous.”
At least, that’s especially true with the artists who’ve been announced most recently: the league notes that Nick Jonas, Fifth Harmony and Carly Rae Jepsen will be in the mix.
Apparently John Legend Robin Thicke and John Ondrasik (Five fo Fighting) will be involved in the events, which also include The NHL 100 (which is hosted by Jon Hamm). Goodness, most of us have heard of like, all of them.
The league ran down how things will shake up:
Carly Rae Jepsen will open the 2017 Honda NHL® All-Star Game pregame festivities at STAPLES Center on Sunday, Jan. 29 with a performance of the Canadian national anthem followed by Fifth Harmony’s rendition of the U.S. national anthem. Grammy nominated recording artist, Nick Jonas, will command the ice during the second intermission with a live performance. The NHL will honor the 100 Greatest NHL Players in a special pregame ceremony. The 2017 Honda NHL® All-Star Game and the performances will be broadcast live on Sunday, Jan. 29 at 12:30 p.m. PT / 3:30 p.m. ET on NBC in the U.S. and CBC, Sports and TVA Sports in Canada.
As previously announced, Hamm will host THE NHL100™ presented by GEICO, a star-studded event in which the entire collection of the 100 Greatest NHL Players will be unveiled. Set for Friday, Jan. 27 at 6:30 p.m. PT and billed as the largest gathering ever of hockey legends, THE NHL100 presented by GEICO at Microsoft Theater also will feature appearances from 2017 NHL® All-Star players and famous hockey fans. Legend and Ondrasik will perform and Thicke will lead a special In Memoriam that pays tribute to the late members of the 100 Greatest NHL Players. Tickets to THE NHL100™ presented by GEICO are available at AXS.com.
Being that those musicians generally fall under the “pop” category, some in the purest sense that it’s used right now, there were some making fun of that selection. This is the Internet, after all, where everything receives mockery. Is there a mockery-proof musician?
(Radiohead certainly draws Kid Rock ire, for one.)
These are some pretty good gets by the NHL for such an event, maybe aided by it taking place in Los Angeles.
The burning question, really, is if this weekend will break the Twitter follower tie between Jepsen and Jonas:
Maybe they’ll go to a shootout.