With Coyotes on deck, Sharks' Marleau continues to amaze

It's certain that Patrick Marleau will one day have his No. 12 retired by the San Jose Sharks.

Brent Burns might one day watch his No. 88 be raised to the rafters, as well.

Marleau, Burns and the Sharks hope to keep their respective surges going Saturday night when they take on the Arizona Coyotes.

For 19 seasons after being the second overall pick in the 1997 draft, Marleau has been a steady presence on the Sharks. And for much of the last two weeks, Marleau's production hasn't been that of the average 37-year-old in the NHL.

Marleau became the 45th player in league history with 500 career goals in Thursday's 4-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks. That gives him seven goals and an assist in his last eight games.

"When you hit a mark like this, you start thinking about everybody who's kind of helped you along the way," Marleau told the league's official website. "Playing with one club and playing with a lot of guys for a lot of years on this team, it means a lot to share that with them and see how happy they are for you.

"Things are going good now. We're on a roll. It couldn't come at a better time."

Marleau has 30 goals and 41 assists in 105 career games against the Coyotes franchise, but has scored just once in his last seven games facing them.

Burns honored Marleau's milestone with a tweet: "Congrats to Patty... great guy and ridiculous athlete... what a Beast! #500club #funruntime."

Regardless of how things play out for the Sharks, Burns can expect to be honored this summer. Unless something drastically changes over the final 30 games of the season, it looks as if this season's top defenseman will hail from northern California.

Burns leads all blue-liners with 55 points (22 goals, 33 assists) in 52 games to find himself in the same company as Connor McDavid, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin among the NHL's top scorers.

Burns was named the NHL's third star for January, and hasn't slowed down. He had a goal and an assist against the Canucks, giving him two straight multipoint games and three in his last five.

On Nov. 29, he scored 19 seconds into overtime to lift San Jose (33-17-2) to a 2-1 win over Arizona at SAP Center. Burns has at least one point in six of his last seven home games versus the Coyotes.

While the Sharks can look forward to getting the chance to defend their Western Conference title, Arizona (16-28-6) likely will not be in the playoffs for a fifth straight season.

Following a 4-3 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday, the Coyotes now try to avoid a third straight loss overall -- and eighth in a row on the road.

Arizona has been limited to three goals while losing five in a row at SAP Center, including a 2-1 overtime defeat on Nov. 29. The Coyotes also haven't registered a regulation win in San Jose in their last 12 visits.

One positive during the loss to Chicago was the return of Max Domi, back after missing 23 games with a broken hand suffered in a fight Dec. 8 against the Calgary Flames. Domi didn't record a point in nearly 13 minutes of ice time and had two hits.

"He's been out a long time. It's going to take him some games to get up to speed." Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said.

Two of Domi's five goals this season have come against San Jose.

If Mike Smith gets the start in goal for the Coyotes, he will try to earn his first road win since Dec. 15. In five games since then, Smith is 0-4-1 with a 3.72 goals-against average and .880 save percentage.

Smith has a 1.99 GAA and .952 save percentage in his last five starts in San Jose, but has lost four of them.

San Jose's Martin Jones has surrendered two goals or less in six of his last seven starts, but has given up six goals while losing twice to Arizona. It would not be a surprise if rookie Aaron Dell starts before the Sharks go on a road trip in which they play games in Buffalo, Boston, Philadelphia and New Jersey in a six-night span.

Dell is 6-2-0 with a 1.97 GAA, a .930 save percentage and a shutout. He's stopped 101 of 107 shots and recorded his only career shutout while winning four straight at home.
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