Patrick Marleau is still going strong at 41.
Marleau scored his second goal of the season Friday night in the San Jose Sharks’ 5-2 loss to the Arizona Coyotes in Glendale, Ariz.
In Saturday’s finale of the two-game series, Marleau can tie Mark Messier for second place on the NHL’s list of most career games played with 1,756. That would be 11 games behind all-time leader Gordie Howe.
“I still feel really good out there, and I still feel like I can contribute given the opportunity,” Marleau, who has played in 886 consecutive games, told The Athletic. “I know I can still play …”
Marleau’s goal came on the power play at 12:30 of the third period to cap the scoring. Mario Ferraro’s entry pass into the offensive zone took a weird kick off the end boards and off the back of the net, and Marleau retrieved the puck and slipped it inside the post before Arizona goaltender Adin Hill could react.
It was the 564th goal of Marleau’s career, tying him with Mats Sundin and Joe Nieuwendyk for 23rd in league history.
If Marleau doesn’t miss any games, he could break Howe’s league record April 19 when the Sharks are in Las Vegas. But one week before that game is the NHL’s trade deadline, and Marleau could be on the move to a contender in a bid for his first Stanley Cup.
“I wouldn’t actively maybe look for it, but if it does happen or it does come, or a team wants me, that’s something you have to seriously consider,” Marleau said. “Obviously, that’s still my goal, to win a Stanley Cup. It would definitely be something to consider.”
Coach Bob Boughner said he’d like Marleau to be with the Sharks when he breaks the record, but realizes that might not happen.
“Obviously, it would be a special thing to be a part of,” Boughner told NHL.com earlier this week. “I think that business is business, and Patty Marleau is going to be able to be the one to control what happens. I’m sure that if he wants to stay, he stays, and if he wants to have a chance to go somewhere else, I’m sure that opportunity will be afforded to him as well.
“For us, we got to support him and hopefully get to that spot where we see him break the record as a Shark. But moving forward, other than that, that’s really out of our hands,” Boughner said.
Christian Dvorak tallied twice, giving him 11 goals, tied for the team lead with Phil Kessel. Winning the series opener moved the Coyotes within two points of St. Louis for fourth place in the West Division.
Nick Schmaltz, Dryden Hunt and Kessel, who was playing in his 1,100th career game, scored for the Coyotes, and Hill made 20 saves.
“Every line contributed (Friday),” Arizona coach Rick Tocchet said. “Schmaltz really had a good game. Hunt had a lot of energy. He was very disruptive, and I’m glad he got that goal.”
Hill has stepped in for injured netminders Darcy Kuemper and Antti Raanta and won his past two starts.
“When you have people banged up, you look for guys to step their game up,” Tocchet said. “We need that if we’re going to get in this thing, the playoff race.”
–Field Level Media