SAN JOSE -- Patrick Marleau cooled off, but only a little. The Sharks? They stayed red hot.
For the first time this season, Marleau failed to score two goals. But he did notch one as San Jose beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-1 on Sunday in a fight-filled contest that had a touch of nastiness before the first puck dropped.
With the victory, the Sharks improved to 5-0 for the season, making them one of only four NHL teams without a loss.
Marleau, who tied an NHL record from 1917 by opening the season with four multiple-goal games, admitted to being a little disappointed to see that personal streak end.
"Yeah, it would have been nice to keep it going," he said. "Definitely."
But nobody -- Marleau
All of San Jose's goals came from its top line with Joe Pavelski picking up two and Joe Thornton adding the other.
Forward Alex Burrows scored the lone Vancouver goal while Sharks goalie Antti Niemi earned his fourth victory, making 23 saves.
It was Burrows who was in the middle of things at the opening faceoff, as he and Logan Couture waited for the puck to drop.
"He dug his head into my face so I lifted his helmet up, and he sucker punched me," Couture said. "Then Clowe came in."
The Sharks started a
San Jose grabbed a 1-0 lead in the opening minute when Thornton took advantage of a Canucks misplay and beat goalie Cory Schneider. That grew to 2-0 at 3:26 thanks to a giveaway by Vancouver
"I think he was trying to get a little air on it and it kind of stayed down and I was able to get it," Pavelski said of the intercepted pass.
Ultimately, the game became a battle of special teams with San Jose coming out ahead. Both of the Sharks' final goals came on San Jose's league-leading power play while the team's revamped penalty kill went a perfect 7-for-7.
The teams traded goals in the second period, and both pucks entered each net off a Shark's skate.
The Canucks made it 2-1 at 11:05 when a rebound of a shot by Burrows caromed back into the net off defenseman Dan Boyle's foot.
Vancouver then kept the pressure on until forward Maxim Lapierre went to the
The emotional outburst that ended Clowe's night came when referee Dave Jackson called a high-sticking penalty on Clowe at 19:33. He objected, continuing to bang his stick around while in the penalty box before earning a game misconduct.
That left the Sharks short-handed for four minutes, bridging the second and third periods. But the Canucks only got one shot off during that stretch.
"A real gritty effort," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "It was a real chippy game. I thought we kept our cool, we stood our ground and turned the frustration the other way and worked in our favor."
But he declined to talk about Clowe's performance.
"Obviously we're not happy about the penalties and that's all I'm going to say about it. I owe Ryane Clowe my conversation, I don't owe any of you guys my conversation with Ryane," McLellan said, before adding, "he's going to continue to be a very important player for our hockey club."
The Sharks got their second power-play goal at 8:14 of the third period when Thornton set up Pavelski for a 33-foot wrist shot that finished the scoring.
Tempers flared again in the third when Douglas Murray got the better of Vancouver left wing Aaron Volpatti, and Andrew Desjardins tangled with Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa.
"At the time I thought it was a good hit. Saw it a couple times last night, and I still thought that," Stuart said Sunday morning.
"As far as coaching stats go," McLellan said, "I've got a long way to go before anybody starts talking about mine.