Sharks’ Patrick Marleau can tie games record vs. Wild

NHL Hockey

There are some records that will never be broken.

Most of those in hockey belong to Wayne Gretzky.

But one of the most revered belongs to Gordie Howe, who played in 1,767 career games.

San Jose’s Patrick Marleau can equal that mark Saturday when the Sharks play the Minnesota Wild in Saint Paul, Minn.

Marleau, a 41-year-old center, pulled within a game of the immortal Howe in a 3-2 loss to the host Wild on Friday night.

“I still feel good,” Marleau said. “I’d like to keep playing as long as I can, as long as my family is willing to keep supporting me and see me off on road trips and welcome me home coming back. We’ll try and keep it going as long as we can.”

Opponents have already started to congratulate Marleau on the impending record.

After the Sharks played Los Angeles last Saturday, Kings coach Todd McLellan, assistant Marco Sturm and captain Anze Kopitar all shook Marleau’s hand. McLellan was Marleau’s coach in San Jose from 2008-15.

The same thing happened Wednesday after a game against Anaheim, as veteran Ducks goaltender Ryan Miller and captain Ryan Getzlaf offered congratulations.

“I don’t take that lightly,” said Marleau, the No. 2 overall selection in the 1997 NHL draft. “That obviously means a lot to me. … Those are quick little moments at the end of the game, but there’s a lot of history behind those handshakes that I cherish.”

The Sharks have lost four consecutive games and five out of six to see their postseason hopes dwindle. They’re in sixth place in the West Division, four points behind fourth-place St. Louis.

San Jose hasn’t scored more than two goals in any of their recent losses.

“I thought we gave ourselves a chance to win (Friday),” Sharks captain Logan Couture said. “I thought defensively we were pretty good. We didn’t give up much, but there wasn’t much out there offensively. But we’ve got to find a way to do more. We only scored one or two over the last three or four games, so we need to find some offense.”

Nick Bonino had a goal and an assist as the Wild, who are solidly in third place, won their second consecutive game and improved to 3-1-1 in their past five.

Zach Parise and Mats Zuccarello also scored for Minnesota and Cam Talbot made 20 saves.

The fourth line of Parise, Nico Sturm and Bonino have combined for nine points (four goals, five assists) in the past two games.

“They aren’t a fourth line,” Wild coach Dean Evason said. “They played great. …They’re giving us a real boost, for sure.

“I mean, clearly it’s an asset to have the depth. … There’s no question when you can just roll, and guys are trusting and making those changes at the proper time because they trust that their teammate coming out is going to have a good chance to get the job done as he is, it’s a good feeling for the group, for sure.”

–Field Level Media

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