Is Patrick Marleau really a third-line player?
Sharks coach Todd McLellan must think to. He moved Marleau, now scoreless in six games, to the No. 3 grouping with 900-year center Michael Handzus. Marleau didn’t pout about playing with the career checker.
“Zeus is just a really good player,” he told the San Jose Mercury News after his relegation. “He’s got such a great skill level that he can play on a first or second line. When you’re out there with somebody smart and skilled like him, it’s fun.”
Are Brad Winchester and Jamie McGinn really the ideal linemates for Jumbo Joe Thornton?
McLellan gave that some thought. He prepared for Saturday night’s game by looking at different combinations. Winchester and McGinnn aligned with the playmaking Thornton on the second line during the pre-game skate.
He experimented with Joe Pavelski and Marleau flanking Handzus. That left Ryane Clowe, Logan Couture and Martin Havlat making up the No. 2 line disguised as the No. 1 line.
During the game, McLellan moved Handzus onto the power play and bumped Pavelski back to the point for the first time this season.
These were masterstroke by McLellan, who tinkered with his offensive chemistry against an opponent known for its tight checking. By trying to blend size and grit through his attack, the coach succeeded only in diminishing his scoring potential.
The results were predictable: a 1-0 loss to the Blues Saturday night at Scottrade Center. San Jose went 0 for 6 on the power play and mustered just 24 shots overall.
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