With his club mired in one of its worst stretches of the season, San Jose head coach Todd McLellan is prodding the longest-tenured Shark to pick up the pace.
Patrick Marleau — pointless in nine games, with just one goal in his last 17 — has been asked to start producing with more regularity, especially with co-leading scorer Joe Thornton (upper body) shelved.
“There’s two ways of dealing with it. There’s getting down and wallowing in it, or pushing forward and being direct and finding a way to get it done,” McLellan said, per the San Jose Mercury News. “I think Patty will take the second approach. He has in the past.
“But there’s no doubt that for us to have success, especially with some of the injuries, that he has to find a way to produce.”
The Sharks are 1-3-1 in their last five, mitigated by the fact they went 5-0-0 in the five games prior. Still, their latest issues go beyond their record; San Jose’s offense has fallen off a cliff lately, with just nine goals and a power play that’s gone two for its last 22.
For Marleau, putting pucks in the net has become a problem. The seven-time 30-goal scorer is on pace for just 15 this year and his .18 goals-per-game average is his lowest since breaking into the NHL as an 18-year-old in ’97-98.
Now 35, Marleau admitted the slump is starting to get at him — but also said the opportunities to score were there.
“I’ve been getting tons of chances, and it’s frustrating that they haven’t been going in,” he explained. “One thing that I’ve learned over the years is that you just have to keep working for that next opportunity, and sometimes they just go in a ton at once.”
For the first time in 319 games, the San Jose Sharks had to play without Joe Thornton on Saturday and they suffered a 7-2 loss to the St. Louis Blues. They’ll have to bounce back without the star forward and their former captain though as Thornton has been placed on the injured reserve list.
The move is presumably retroactive to Dec. 31, but that still rules Thornton out for Monday and Tuesday’s contests. Sharks coach Todd McLellan previously described Thornton as day-to-day and an earlier report from the San Jose Mercury News suggested that it’s Thornton’s shoulder that’s bothering him.
Thornton has nine goals and 33 points in 38 contests in 2014-15. The 35-year-old hasn’t recorded fewer than 70 points in a non-lockout season since he had 68 points in 66 contests in 2001-2002.
San Jose also announced that they have called up forward Micheal Haley.
Reimer looks to get the Leafs back in the win column
The Toronto Maple Leafs have just one win in their last four and are heading into a back-to-back situation tonight when they visit the Winnipeg Jets. Manitoba native James Reimer, who is 6-6-0 with a 3.39 G.A.A and a .905 save percentage, is expected to get the start in goal for the Leafs. Reimer allowed three goals on 41 shots in the Maple Leafs’ 3-2 loss to the Lightning on Monday. The 26-year-old allowed four goals on 19 shots in his only start at MTS Centre last season.
Michael Hutchinson gets the start in goal for the Jets.
Canadiens at Penguins: Carey Price vs. Marc-Andre Fleury
Sabres at Rangers: Jhonas Enroth vs. Henrik Lundqvist
Flyers at Devils: Steve Mason vs. Cory Schneider
Wild at Stars: Darcy Kuemper vs. Kari Lehtonen
Blue Jackets at Coyotes: Sergei Bobrovsky vs. Mike Smith
Red Wings at Canucks: Jimmy Howard vs. Ryan Miller
Blues at Sharks: Brian Elliott vs. Antti Niemi
The San Jose Sharks won’t have Joe Thornton in the lineup tonight when they play host to the St. Louis Blues.
According to David Pollak of the San Jose Mercury News, Thornton’s injury is believed to be a shoulder injury.
The 35-year-old’s current ironman streak of 319 consecutive games will come to an end.
Thornton has nine goals and 33 points in 38 games this season.
John Scott will serve the final game of his four-game suspension when the San Jose Sharks play host to the St. Louis Blues tonight.
Scott was suspended on Dec. 24 for his sucker punch to Anaheim Ducks’ Tim Jackman on Dec. 22.
The Sharks’ tough guy met the media on Friday for the first time since his latest suspension; however, wasn’t ready to talk about how he really felt about his latest suspension.
“Nope, every time I have thoughts I usually get in trouble,” Scott said per the San Jose Mercury News. “It was a suspension, I’m a repeat offender so I understand where the league is coming from. Hopefully, I’m not suspended again.”
As for the play, which he was suspended for, Scott says he was unaware Jackman was in the area.
“I didn’t even see him coming. I just felt something on my back and kind of reacted and turned and caught him right on the sweet spot, I guess,” said Scott. “It was just a complete reaction kind of turn. I do that 10 times a game. This time I just tinked him right on the chin.”
Scott, 32, has a goal and an assist in 15 games this season to go along with 24 penalty minutes and a minus-2 rating.
He is eligible to return to San Jose’s lineup on Monday when San Jose visits Winnipeg.