SAN JOSE — About the only thing Patrick Marleau is struggling at so far this season is finding an explanation for his record start.
Marleau became the second player in NHL history to open a season with four straight multigoal games, striking twice on the power play in the first period in the San Jose Sharks' 4-0 victory against the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday.
"I'll keep taking them if they keep coming," he said. "That's for sure."
Marleau has scored exactly two goals in each game this season, joining Ottawa's Cy Denneny in 1917-18 as the only players to open a campaign with four multigoal games, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
"He obviously has a hot hand right now," defenseman Brad Stuart said. "We'll need contributions from everyone at some point. But right now Patty is playing amazing and putting the puck in the net every time he touches it it seems like."
Both of Marleau's goals came after Ryan O'Byrne took two additional minor penalties for retaliating after Stuart flattened Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog with a vicious hit.
Joe Thornton added a power-play goal in the second period, giving San Jose 10 power-play goals in four games and a franchise record 19 overall.
Thomas Greiss made 24 saves for his first career shutout and Matt Irwin got his first career goal as the Sharks are off to their best start since also winning the first four games in 2008-09.
The Avalanche lost their seventh straight game in San Jose since winning Game 1 of their first-round playoff series in 2010. After killing off 16 straight penalties coming into this game, Colorado allowed goals on San Jose's first three power plays, including two after the hit on Landeskog.
"You have a situation where a teammate is defending another teammate which is the game of hockey and in those situations we need to step up and get the job done for our teammate," Colorado coach Joe Sacco said. "We just didn't get it done. That was the difference in the game."
San Jose's power play is in midseason form in this lockout-shortened season, with 10 goals in 24 chances. Marleau has four of those goals as he is off to a scintillating start. He is the first Sharks player ever with four straight multigoal games and has outscored the Sharks' opponents, who have seven goals in four games.
"I don't know if he can keep scoring two goals every night. But he can keep his play up the way it's been," coach Todd McLellan said. "He's been skating extremely well. A ton of confidence. He's prepared to shoot the puck. He's engaged physically."
"It's a great reward for him. He came focused to play."
The Sharks took more than 12 minutes to get their first shot on goal, but managed to take a 2-0 lead in the first period because of stellar special teams play and a big hit by Stuart that changed the complexion of the game.
San Jose's troubled penalty-kill unit was up to the task early, allowing no shots on two power plays for Colorado. Then San Jose's dangerous power-play took over late in the period after Stuart's big hit that Landeskog felt was clean even if his coach thought it should have been a penalty.