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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Can Patrick Marleau Make Goal # 500 Tonight

Marleau08
Ivanmakarov at en.wikipedia
[CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)],
from Wikimedia Commons
As of right now Patrick Marleau has a career 1060 points and 497 goals.  All of them earned as a Shark!  Last night as many of you already know Marleau earned one milestone achievement, he became only the 12th player in NHL history to make 4 goals in a single period of play.  Those 4 goals last night brought him within reach of another achievement, the possibility of scoring his 500th career goal.  If he is able to achieve this he will become the 45 player in the NHL to reach 500 goals.  If last nights game against the Avalanche were the only Sharks game you have seen all season you might think that it would be no problem for Marleau to put another 3 goals away tonight.  However if you look back at his performance through out this season as well as the last several years, it paints a different picture.  Last night's achievement of a hat trick with all 3 goals scored in 7 minutes 46 seconds, was Marleau's first hat trick since 2011!  He has scored 16 goals in the past 48 games including the 4 from last night.  The question of weather he can score all 3 goals needed to make it to 500 tonight is a valid one though.  It is certainly possible, he proved that last night, but to do it two nights in a row, we may be asking too much.  On the other hand with him so close to making 500 will his line mates look to get him the puck a little more often, if possible, to help him along.... that is a definite possibility.

Tonight's game is against the Jets, and both teams are playing in back to back games which means they both may be a little tired.  The Sharks have a good record with winning back to back games this season, especially when they are already on a 5 game winning streak. They have gone 5-0 in the 3rd game the last 5 times they have played 3 games in 4 nights.  So the past performance indicates that the Sharks should have good game tonight with plenty of possibilities for Marleau to shoot the puck. The Jets have not done so well in the later games of game of back to backs this season.  They have only 21 wins in the last 52 games played with 0 nights rest between games.  So if the Jets defense is just a little tired or not quite as sharp as they would be if they were playing their first game in a stretch, Marleau may have a slight advantage in shooting opportunities, which would increase his odds of putting the puck in the back of the net 3 more times tonight.  That being said however, his goal scoring record season to date does not make this outcome look likely, he is averaging only 1 goal for every 3 games played, and that average was greatly increased by last nights 4 goal game.

So the odds are not in favor of Marleau making it to goal # 500 tonight.  I do believe that we will see Marleau score # 500 this season, maybe even within the next month, but I doubt he will make it all the way there in just one more game.  Even so, Marleau has been known in past seasons to be a very consistent scorer, so there is a real possibility that he could surprise us with a hat trick in two consecutive games.  While I would not place money on it, I would love to be wrong and see Marleau surprise us by hitting the 500 goal milestone tonight!  The game between the Jets and Sharks starts in just under an hour at 8 p.m. Eastern time, so I will be watching to see what happens.

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