SAN JOSE — Patrick Marleau's name was bandied about in rumors last month leading up to the trading deadline. The decision by the San Jose Sharks to keep their captain just might have been the spark he needed to turn around a difficult season.
Marleau scored his second goal of the game 3:05 into overtime to lead the Sharks to their seventh consecutive win, 3-2 over the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday night.
"A world of weight has been taken off his shoulders," said Sharks coach Ron Wilson, who was Marleau's harshest critic since last postseason. "That's helped. It's always hard to play when you're worrying about being traded. That news that he wasn't (traded) energized him."
Marleau downplayed any relief he might have felt when he stayed with San Jose, but his performance speaks otherwise. He has three goals and three assists in five games since the deadline after scoring only 10 goals in his first 58 games.
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The winner came when Joe Pavelski centered a pass from behind the net that Marleau knocked past Martin Gerber for his 13th goal and third in two games.
"It's nice to help the team defensively and offensively," he said. "Any time you can chip in and help the team get two points, you have to be happy with your game."
The Sharks rallied from two one-goal deficits in the third period and won for just the third time in 23 games this season when they trailed after two periods.
San Jose made up ground on Dallas and Anaheim in the Pacific Division. Both lost Wednesday night. The Sharks moved one point past the Ducks and within three of the first-place Stars.
Jason Spezza scored both goals for the Senators, who have lost five of six and fell for the fourth time in 30 games when leading after two.
Marleau scored on the power play in the opening minute of the third period to tie it at 1. Marleau one-timed a pretty pass from newly acquired defenseman Brian Campbell in his first two-goal game of the season.
"Patty did all of the work," said Campbell, who has five points in five games with San Jose. "I'm just trying to be creative out there."
Ottawa leading scorer Daniel Alfredsson missed the game after being cross-checked in the ribs Monday at Anaheim. Sharks forward Jeremy Roenick missed his second game in a row because of the flu.
BLACKHAWKS 3, DUCKS 0, at Chicago — Rookie Corey Crawford stopped 19 shots to earn his first NHL win and shutout in his first start this season as Chicago blanked Anaheim.
COYOTES 2, STARS 1, at Dallas — Ilya Bryzgalov made 20 saves, and Peter Mueller and Shane Doan each scored to lead Phoenix past Dallas.
CAPITALS 3, SABRES 1, at Buffalo — Alexander Ovechkin scored twice, including his NHL-leading 54th goal, as Washington defeated Buffalo. Niklas Backstrom, who entered as the NHL's rookie scoring leader, had a goal and an assist.
HURRICANES 6, THRASHERS 3, at Atlanta — Eric Staal had two goals and an assist to help Carolina beat Atlanta.
RED WINGS 4, BLUES 1, at Detroit — Pavel Datsyuk scored twice to lift NHL-leading Detroit to its second win in a row following a 1-8-2 stretch.
TRAINER IS HONORED — Florida Panthers trainer Dave Zenobi helped save Richard Zednik's life after Zednik's neck was slashed by the skate of teammate Olli Jokinen. Zenobi will be honored with the ADT Good Sport Award tonight in Sunrise, Fla.