It's worth noting ...

STEVE MACFARLANE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:44 AM ET

Patrick Marleau has returned to star status in San Jose after a difficult regular-season campaign last year left many wondering what was wrong with the Saskatchewan product.

He already has as many goals as he scored in 78 games last season, with 19 in 38 games so far this year. He's also just seven assists shy of last year's grand total. Marleau is on pace for his first ever 40-goal season and just his second 80-point year.

The 29-year-old passed Owen Nolan's franchise record for powerplay goals Dec. 4 in Columbus when he netted his 76th.

ICE CHIPS

The Flames reported to the Saddledome yesterday, but only D Jim Vandermeer and G Curtis McElhinney took the ice ... C Daymond Langkow is the hottest Flames player at the moment. He's run his point streak to five games and has seven points (three goals, four assists) in that span ... Sharks G Brian Boucher got into just three games with the Flames back in 2005-06 as G Miikka Kiprusoff's backup. He's been a great relief guy in San Jose, posting an 8-1-1 record in 10 tilts with the Sharks. He's got a 1.88 goals-against average and a .928 save percentage, both better than starter Evgeni Nabokov (2.44 GAA, .909 sv%) ... Kiprusoff's next win will push him past Dan Bouchard for second on the franchise's all-time wins list ... LW Claude Lemieux has three goals and five assists in 17 tilts with the AHL Worcester Sharks. There's a good chance the 43-year-old will play in the NHL this season after signing a two-way deal last month ... The Flames returned LW Jamie Lundmark to the AHL Quad City Flames after calling him up to the big club in case LW Todd Bertuzzi's back was too sore to suit up in Chicago ... The Sharks recalled LW Brad Staubitz from Worcester because tough-guy Jody Shelley won't be ready for the tour of Western Canada ... D Douglas Murray is expected to be healthy enough to return tonight. He's troubled by a lower-body injury ... Tonight will be RW Jarome Iginla's 900th NHL game.


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