The NHL should give Patrick Marleau the keys, because right now he owns the league. And he owns it in a way Wayne Gretzky himself never did. The Great One scored 894 NHL goals, but he never put together a streak quite like Marleau did to start the 2012-13 season.
The San Jose Sharks winger began the season with eight goals in his first four games. He had two goals in each of those games, becoming just the second player in NHL history to begin a season with four multi-goal games. The only other player to accomplish the feat was Ottawa’s Cy Denneny, back in 1917-18. Denneny, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1959, went on to score 36 goals in 20 games that season. It’s hard to believe we’ve waited 95 years before a player scored two or more goals in his first four games. Gretzky never did it, nor did Gordie Howe, Bobby or Brett Hull, Guy Lafleur, Mike Bossy or Phil Esposito.
On Sunday, Marleau was thwarted in his bid to become the first player with five consecutive multi-goal performances at any point during the season since Alexander Mogilny turned the trick in 1992-93 en route to a 76-goal rookie season (Gretzky never did that either). Marleau instead had one lousy goal in a 4-1 win over Vancouver.
Marleau has one more goal than the Sharks have allowed. At this rate, he’ll break Wayne Gretzky’s record for most goals in a season with 92. Oh wait, yeah that’s right, he only has 48 games in which to do it. Stupid lockout!
Not only is Marleau off to a sizzling start, but so too are his linemates Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski. Thornton has 13 points in his first 5 games while Pavelski has 10 points. The Sharks themselves are among the league’s best teams through the first eight days of the season, winning their first five games, outscoring their opponents 23-8.
Even if Marleau has no chance of eclipsing Gretzky`s record, it will be interesting to see if he rides his hot streak to the Rocket Richard Trophy. Right now, he has as many power play tallies (5) as anyone else has goals.
Oh, and there`s one more thing Marleau has over Gretzky: Since turning 30, he has 121 goals. In his first four full seasons after turning 30, Gretzky had 96 goals.
That`s just some food for thought.