Monday, April 19, 2021 | 3 p.m.
The Golden Knights are ready to temporarily set aside their rivalry with San Jose tonight to honor a Sharks legend.
Patrick Marleau is set to play his 1,768th NHL game tonight, which will pass Gordie Howe for the most all-time. While there is no love lost between the Golden Knights and Sharks, it’s clear how much respect Vegas has for Marleau and his place in hockey history. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. at T-Mobile Arena.
“He’s Mr. Consistency,” Vegas coach and former Sharks coach Pete DeBoer said. “People have asked me to put the record in perspective or compare it to somebody else in another sport. When I think of Patty Marleau, I think of Cal Ripken Jr. in baseball. You know what you’re getting every night. He was a gentleman; he was a great teammate, played for a long time and gave you the same thing, that consistency every time he took the field.”
Among all the Sharks players, there’s perhaps less animosity from the Vegas side directed at Marleau than any other player. He played the first 19 years of his career in San Jose then left for Toronto in 2017-18, the Golden Knights’ inaugural year.
He wasn’t with the Sharks during the playoff battles with Vegas, and after returning to San Jose last season, he has totaled just seven games as a Shark against the Golden Knights.
“A lot of us were talking about it (the record) and talking about when he was going to break it, so we’re pretty excited to see it (tonight)” Vegas captain Mark Stone said. “As much as you hate your opponent, as much as you want to beat your opponent, you still respect your opponent.”
Marleau started his career in 1997 and has rarely missed a game. He hasn’t failed to suit up since April 9, 2009. He’s played every one of his team’s games since then, a streak of 898 consecutive games, the fourth-longest streak in NHL history.
Eventually, those games add up and now bring Marleau mere hours from hockey immortality. It’s not just any record that Marleau is breaking. He’s taking the place of “Mr. Hockey” atop the games-played list, a record Howe has held for more than four decades.
“It’s a bit unbelievable,” Vegas goalie Marc-Andre Fleury said. “He’s been so consistent throughout his career. The guy was an iron guy. He didn’t get hurt for long periods of time and every year, he’s always been a very good player also. To hang in there that long and play that many games is amazing.”
TV: AT&T SportsNet (DirecTV 684, Cox 1313, CenturyLink 1760)
Radio: Fox Sports 1340 AM and 98.9 FM
Betting line: Golden Knights minus-235, Sharks plus-205; over/under: 6 (EVEN, minus-120)
Golden Knights (31-11-2, 64 points; t-1st place, West Division)
Coach: Pete DeBoer (second season)
Points leader: Mark Stone (50)
Goals leader: Max Pacioretty (22)
Assists leader: Mark Stone (25)
Expected goalie: Robin Lehner (2.19 GAA, .918 save percentage)
Sharks (18-22-4, 40 points; 6th place, West Division)
Coach: Bob Boughner (second season)
Points leader: Evander Kane (38)
Goals leader: Evander Kane (17)
Assists leader: Brent Burns (20)
Expected goalie: Martin Jones (3.25 GAA, .896 save percentage)
Golden Knights projected lineup
Max Pacioretty—Chandler Stephenson—Mark Stone
Jonathan Marchessault—William Karlsson—Reilly Smith
Mattias Janmark—Tomas Nosek—Alex Tuch
William Carrier—Nicolas Roy—Tomas Jurco
Brayden McNabb—Shea Theodore
Alec Martinez—Alex Pietrangelo
Nicolas Hague—Zach Whitecloud
Robin Lehner, Marc-Andre Fleury