Marleau leads third-period surge for Sharks

BOSTON (Ticker) — The San Jose Sharks waited until the final 20
minutes to show the league-leading Boston Bruins that they have
not conceded the Presidents’ Trophy.

Captain Patrick Marleau recorded a goal and two assists during a
four-goal third period as the Sharks skated to a 5-2 victory
over the Bruins in a battle of conference leaders.

Defenseman Rob Blake, Milan Michalek, All-Star Joe Thornton and
Mike Grier also scored for the Western Conference-leading Sharks
(37-7-7), who snapped a season-high three-game slide (0-1-2).

“All eyes were on this game tonight,” said Sharks All-Star
defenseman Dan Boyle, who recorded an assist. “I felt we really
started playing our game in the third. I thought in the first
two (periods), we were a little timid. We took over there in
the third.”

Ryane Clowe collected three assists and Evgeni Nabokov made 28
saves for San Jose, which posted just its second regulation win
at Boston in 12 all-time visits.

“We played a great third,” Clowe said. “Not only did we score a
couple, we kept pouring it on. It was a great win, especially
in a tough building like this.”

Milan Lucic netted both goals and All-Star Tim Thomas stopped 26
shots for the Bruins, who failed to earn at least one point for
the first time in 10 games (6-1-3). Boston also fell to 26-1-2
when leading after two periods.

“If we play our game, we can play against anyone,” Boston’s
Patrice Bergeron said. “But we didn’t do that in the third
period. But give them credit, they played well.”

“We just didn’t have it tonight,” Bruins coach Claude Julien
added. “We went into the third period and I guess we didn’t
have enough energy to push back. … They’re the best team we’ve
played so far this year. It’d be nice to get another shot at
them. But there’s a long way to go and a lot to be done before
we get there.”

Julien was eluding to a meeting in the Stanley Cup Finals, as
Boston and San Jose do not face off again during the regular

Entering with an NHL-best 39-8-7 record, the Bruins carried a
slim 2-1 lead into the third. But the Sharks, who have trailed
after two sessions just 12 times in 51 games this season,
erupted for three goals in a span of 6 minutes, 16 seconds over
the first half of the final period to gain control.

“The biggest thing was, we got on our toes instead of our
heels,” San Jose coach Todd McLellan said. “We started to
skate. When we skate, we’re a good team. When we’re not, we’re
very average.”

Marleau began the spurt at 3:32. After defenseman Christian
Ehrhoff’s shot from the right point hit Boston blue-liner Dennis
Wideman in front, Marleau buried the rebound for his
team-leading 27th goal of the season.

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“They came out hard and took advantage of some advantageous
bounces,” Thomas said.

Michalek put San Jose ahead at 7:28, when he beat Thomas high to
the glove side from the slot after receiving a drop pass in the
right faceoff dot by Boyle.

Making his second visit to Boston after being traded to San Jose
in November 2005, Thornton doubled the Sharks’ lead at 9:48.
Jeered every time he touched the puck, Thornton had Devin
Setoguchi’s backhand pass from behind the net carom off his left
skate and past Thomas.

Following a brief video review, the former Bruins captain was
credited with his 13th tally.

“I love coming back here,” said Thornton, who was drafted first
overall by Boston in 1997. “Midway through the game, we turned
it on. And usually when we turn it on, teams really can’t
handle us. That’s what you saw tonight – our speed, our size,
everything. I don’t think you handle the Sharks for 60

Grier capped the outburst with an empty-netter in the final

“We played two great periods of hockey, just like we wanted to,
and for some reason, we sat back (in the third),” Boston
All-Star Marc Savard said. “You’re not going to beat a team
like that sitting back. We did that, and they took advantage.”

Marleau was glad the Sharks were able to emerge victorious in
Thornton’s return to “Beantown.”

“It was a nice victory, to come back here with Joe and a little
team history with him,” Marleau said. “It was nice to see a win
for him.”

Lucic began the scoring at 3:58 of the first, when he deposited
a loose puck into a vacant right side of the net after Wideman’s
shot from the inner edge of the right circle was stopped.

Blake forged a 1-1 tie during a power play less than four
minutes later, thanks to some help from Boston. The former
Norris Trophy winner unleashed a slap shot from above the right
circle that deflected off the stick of Bruins rookie Blake
Wheeler, then the skate of Wideman before getting past Thomas at

Lucic capped his second multi-goal effort of the season with
5:06 remaining in the period, knocking the rebound of Petteri
Nokelainen’s shot from the high slot by Nabokov.

“The first period, we weren’t putting pucks in the right spots
and they were coming out (of their) zone pretty clean,” Marleau

Nabokov kept San Jose’s margin at one by making a superb pad
save on Savard with just over nine minutes to go in the middle