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Marleau scores twice, as usual, as Sharks rally past Coyotes

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SAN JOSE -- Patrick Marleau is out to change his reputation as a notoriously slow starter during this lockout-shortened season.

For the third consecutive game to start the season, Marleau scored two goals, the latest pair in dramatic fashion as the Sharks rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the final half of the third period for a 5-3 win over the Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday night.

"It feels good, I won't lie," Marleau said. "It's been a good three games, but there's a lot more to go."

Marleau beat Coyotes goalie Jason LaBarbera from the bottom of the right circle off a pass from Joe Pavelski at 18:07 of the third period before Joe Thornton added an empty-net goal at 19:57.

"I tell everyone I come in contact with that Patty Marleau is the most skilled player I've ever practiced and played with," San Jose's Logan Couture said.

Phoenix (1-3) took a 3-1 lead early in the third period when Lauri Korpikoski slipped a shot behind bewildered San Jose goalie Antti Niemi at 7:28. Two minutes earlier, Coyotes center Antoine Vermette scored on the power play.

The Sharks (3-0) struck back to tie it over the next six minutes following Korpikoski's goal. Marleau scored his fifth of the early season at 9:15, and Martin Havlat evened the game at 13:06 after teammate Ryane Clowe hit the near post.

"We didn't start the game the way we wanted. We were on our heels for most of the first," Phoenix's Radim Vrbata said. "In the third, we just stopped playing. We didn't put pucks deep, and they came at us hard and took advantage of some mistakes we made."

Phoenix tied the game at 7:11 of the second period when Steve Sullivan scored his fourth goal in two nights. The 5-on-3 power-play goal capped a 1:48 stretch when the puck never left the Coyotes' offensive zone.

San Jose forwards TJ Galiardi and Andrew Desjardins committed high-sticking penalties within 1:06 to give the visitors a two-man advantage.

Couture's third goal of the season, a redirection of a Joe Pavelski drive from the blue line, accounted for the only scoring of the opening period. The power-play strike occurred five seconds into Derek Morris' interference penalty on Sharks defenseman Justin Braun.

Phoenix survived an early San Jose onslaught included 11 shots in the opening nine minutes, including seven on two early power plays.

"It's huge," Niemi said of the team's 3-0 start. "But we've just got to keep working."

NOTES: Forward Scott Gomez, signed to a one-year, $700,000 deal by San Jose on Wednesday, did not dress but is expected to make his Sharks debut Saturday. ... The Coyotes return home for three straight games in Glendale, Ariz. ... The Sharks honored the team's first owner, George Gund III, with a video tribute before the game. Gund died at the age of 75 last week. ... Phoenix goalie Mike Smith did not dress one night after leaving Wednesday's game midway through the first period with an undisclosed lower-body injury. Emergency call-up Chad Johnson provided LaBarbera's backup. ... Other Coyotes scratches included center Martin Hanzal and defensemen Rostislav Klesla and David Rundblad. ... San Jose's scratches included defenseman Nick Petrecki and left wing Frazer McLaren in addition to Gomez. ... Sharks rookie defenseman Matt Irwin collected his first NHL point with a third-period assist. ... On the strength of eight assists in his first three games, Thornton ranks 58th all-time in NHL scoring.
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