The Sharks’ Patrick Marleau used some veteran savvy to score an absolutely gorgeous goal against the Florida Panthers Thursday night. Marleau picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone, beat a defender with speed and used a great toe-drag to slip the puck into an open net for the 997th point of his career.
Patrick Marleau may not be a 30-goal threat anymore for the San Jose Sharks, but the 36-year-old left winger still has a few tricks up his sleeve. Call it veteran savvy.
In Thursday’s game against the Florida Panthers, Marleau scored the type of goal you’d expect a fresh-faced youngster to pull off — think Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel — and the 17-year NHL veteran did it with relative ease.
Marleau used veteran skill to pick up a loose puck in the neutral zone which was sitting among the feet of a mess of players, and after scooping up the puck, he entered the Florida zone with a head of steam. With 23-year-old defenseman Alex Petrovic the only thing separating Marleau from the net, he used his speed, pushed the puck wide and beat the Panthers blueliner with speed and strength. Then, with goaltender Al Montoya right on top of him, Marleau pulled the puck all the way across his body in one fluid motion and slipped it into the empty net:
Watch the toe-drag to get that puck around Montoya when the play is slowed down. It’s a thing of beauty.
The tally was Marleau’s fourth of the season and ninth point in 13 games, which puts the veteran on pace for 57 points this season, the same total he registered in 2014-15. Marleau’s ninth point of the campaign also put him a mere three away from reaching 1,000 for his career, which would make him the 83rd player in NHL history to reach the 1,000-point plateau. Marleau’s goal also puts him on pace for 25 this season, which would again make him a 20-goal scorer. In only four of his 17 NHL seasons has Marleau failed to reach the 20-goal mark.
When Marleau reaches the 1,000 point mark, he’ll become one of only four players in league history to be drafted second overall and reach the mark. The Sharks selected Marleau second overall in 1997. Teammate Joe Thornton was selected first overall by the Boston Bruins.