Hockey

Patrick Marleau scores two goals in return as Sharks edge Blackhawks, 5-4

That familiar old fist pump from No. 12 was back.

But the best gestures from the Sharks' perspective Thursday against the Chicago Blackhawks came after the game.

Hugs, fist bumps and handshakes.

Patrick Marleau scored twice in a dramatic return to the NHL and Barclay Goodrow scored the go-ahead goal at the 4:47 mark of the third period as the Sharks ended their season-long four-game losing streak with a come-from-behind 5-4 win over the Blackhawks at the United Center.

Goodrow's goal came in front of the net off an assist from Joe Thornton, and gave the Sharks their first lead of the season after 284 minutes of hockey.

Brent Burns and Kevin Labanc also scored for the Sharks, who, in one night, doubled their goal total from their first four games. Goalie Aaron Dell had 18 saves through two periods.

But the night will mostly be remembered for the return of Marleau, who didn't take long to make a huge impact.

Marleau had two goals through two periods, with his first of the season coming with 17 seconds left in the first period. By late in the third period, he had six shots on goal.

Just seconds after a Sharks power play began, Marleau redirected an Erik Karlsson shot from the point past Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford at the 19:43 mark, tying the game 2-2. Marleau's goal was the 552nd of his NHL career, and the 509th with the Sharks.

Marleau then tied the game 4-4 at the 17:46 mark of the second period.

Burns got a shot through from the point that was saved by Crawford, but Marleau was there to put in the rebound, celebrating again with his trademark fist pump.

"Definitely there's a little part that you feel like you're missing out when training camp's going on," Marleau said Wednesday. "These guys have put in a lot of work already, so I'm just going to have to work that much harder to get up to speed and help out."

Marleau, after playing just 40 minutes, was already tied for the team lead in goals this season.

Burns scored his second of the season and the 400th of his career midway through the second period, as his shot from a sharp angle glanced off the glove of Blackhawks defenseman Connor Murphy.

Marleau, who signed a one-year contract to return the Sharks on Wednesday, had just one practice with the team later in the afternoon before he suited up Thursday for his 789th consecutive game, a streak that began in 2009.

"Obviously knowing the position they're in and coming in and talking to the guys, it's a great group of guys," Marleau said Wednesday of the Sharks' 0-4 start. "Seeing what they did last year, it's all here. I think it's trending in the right direction. It'll be only a matter of time before everyone gets on the same page wins start adding up."

Marleau skated on the Sharks' top line with Timo Meier and Logan Couture, and had 10:23 of ice time through two periods.

"Just a solid veteran guy," Sharks coach Pete DeBoer said Thursday morning. "He gives Couture and Timo Meier, who's still a young player, a level of comfort. You've got a veteran guy isn't overwhelmed by the moment. Understands the risk-reward of the NHL and hopefully it works."

Dell was making his second start of the season after he played Saturday in Anaheim against the Ducks, a game the Sharks lost 3-1.

"The words I use with him when he's playing well are aggressive composure," DeBoer said of Dell. "That's the line he's got to walk and those are the nights he plays well. Last year for sure, there wasn't enough of those nights."

Through four games – two against the Vegas Golden Knights and one each against the Ducks and Nashville Predators – the Sharks had never owned a lead, and had given up the first goal within the first six minutes of the first period in every game.

In the first four games, the Sharks had given up the opening goal at 3:46, 5:01, 3:38 and 6:16 marks of the first period.

Thursday, the Blackhawks scored the first goal at the 5:07 mark of the first period, as Dominik Kubalik potted the first of his career from the side of the net. Andrew Shaw scored twice for Chicago and Dylan Strome added one.

"I just try to go out and play my game," Dell said. "We've got a lot of young guys right now, a lot of guys learning the systems. We knew it was going to take a little bit of time, but it's been getting better each game. We've got Patty back, so hopefully there's a little better presence there."

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