A single hit can change the complex of a hockey game. The undefeated San Jose Sharks were the beneficiaries of what a mid-ice collision can provide, as they defeated the Colorado Avalanche 4-0 on Saturday afternoon behind two Patrick Marleau goals. With the win, San Jose improved to 4-0-0 on the year.
Colorado (2-2-0) dominated the game through the first ten minutes of play, outshooting the Sharks 6-1 while preventing any offensive penetration. Despite this domination, they were only able to muster up one good scoring chance on Sharks goalie Thomas Greiss, who received his first start of the year in relief of Antti Niemi.
Then, this happened:
Gabriel Landeskog, Colorado's 20-year-old captain in just his second season, went to the dressing room and wouldn't return until late in the second period. While Stuart didn't win the ensuing fight with Ryan O'Byrne, the whole ordeal gave San Jose a four-minute power play thanks to instigating and fighting with a visor penalties being assessed to O'Byrne.
San Jose quickly took advantage, as Marleau notched his league-leading seventh and eighth goals of the season, both on the power play. Marleau has now scored two goals in each of his first four games, the only player to do so since the 1917-18 season. The San Jose mainstay, now in his fifteenth season, is making it easy for himself, too, finding open areas and loose pucks in front of the net.
The Sharks, who own the league's highest power play conversion percentage, capitalized again on the man-advantage early in the second period, as Joe Thornton cleaned up the garbage in front of the net to give San Jose a 3-0 lead. Rookie defenseman Matt Irwin would blast a slap shot top shelf in the period's closing minutes, and the Sharks coasted through the third to a 4-0 shutout victory, the first of Greiss's career.
Recent free agent signing Scott Gomez made his Sharks debut and nearly scored a goal, shooting through an open net. Gomez played well on the fourth line with Adam Burish and Andrew Desjardins, earning a few takeaways while also seeing time on the second power play unit.