SAN JOSE – Joe Pavelski didn't want to admit it after Tuesday's win over Chicago, but while he had the puck on his stick floating towards an empty net in the closing seconds, he appeared to be looking all around the ice surface - presumably for teammate Patrick Marleau.
Marleau, of course, is now sitting on 499 career goals, after he notched a power play marker in the 3-1 win over Chicago. While Pavelski figured it would have been nice for the Sharks' all-time leading scorer to reach the 500 milestone at home, Marleau will get another chance on Thursday night when the Sharks visit Vancouver.
When he does it, Marleau will be just the 45th player hit the lofty mark.
"Feels good. It always feels good when you score and the team wins," Marleau said on Tuesday night. "Hopefully we don't have to wait too long for the next one."
Marleau is not only close to reaching 500 goals, but he's been arguably the team's most effective forward in the last four games, scoring at least one point in each and totaling six goals and seven points over that span.
At 37 years old, and after spending most of the first half of the season on the third line, Marleau is playing "the best hockey I've seen him play since I've been here," coach Pete DeBoer said.
"He's an incredible athlete. There's a reason he has the numbers and the longevity that he has. I'd like to say I'm not surprised, but I think the fact that he's playing at even a higher level than he did last year is great for us. He's obviously feeling good about it, and he's in a good spot."
Martin Jones said: "It's impressive. He's so big and strong and fast. When he's skating and shooting the puck like that, he's pretty tough to contain."
In 51 games this season, Marleau has 27 points (18g, 9a), good for second in goals and fifth on the team in scoring, and a plus-one rating.
He enters Thursday's game with Vancouver with 1063 points (499g, 564a) in 1462 career games, all with San Jose. He has 27 goals in 73 career games against the Canucks.