Sweet and 'Leau

SCOTT FISHER -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 4:40 PM ET


 Wayne Gretzky may have done in the Flames again.

 As a member of the high-powered Edmonton Oilers, the Great One brought an end to many Flames seasons in the '80s.

 On Saturday, Gretzky gave San Jose's best player the emotional boost he needed when he named Patrick Marleau to Team Canada.

 One day after learning he made this country's World Cup of Hockey squad, Marleau scored a goal and added an assist to lead the Sharks to a 4-2 win yesterday afternoon at the 'Dome.

 "It definitely gives you a boost in confidence seeing your name with all those other great players," Marleau said.

 "After they announced it, I'd be walking around the hotel and people would come up and congratulate me.

 "It's definitely a big thing up here."

 Sharks veteran Vincent Damphousse, who was equally as impressive in yesterday's Game 4 victory, agreed Gretzky's announcement may have given Marleau added jump.

 "It's not a bad thing to have your name called," Damphousse said. "I'm sure he felt pretty good about himself.

 "I think Patty's going to do well at the World Cup. It was the right decision and he deserves it.

 "He's been our go-to guy all season. It's nothing new for him to score a big goal. He's been playing well in the playoffs and made a difference tonight."

 Damphousse -- a former captain with the Montreal Canadiens, who also wore the 'C' for the Sharks earlier this season -- said Marleau has made great strides this season.

 "Patty has improved his leadership qualities," he said of his young linemate, who was named full-time captain in January.

 "He's always been very skilled but now he understands he's the guy and I think he's comfortable in that role."

 San Jose's dynamic duo couldn't have picked a better time to play its best game of the series, getting back the Sharks home-ice advantage -- if they want it. The road team has won all four games so far in this series.

 "They came out and played huge," defenceman Scott Hannan said. "Patty and Vinnie made big plays like they've been doing all playoffs."

 "They've been good the whole playoffs," echoed goaltender Evgeni Nabokov.

 "They're working hard and scoring the goals for us when we need them."

 Damphousse and Marleau, who have combined for 15 goals in the post-season, will likely be front and centre for tonight's Game 5.

 It's just a matter of keeping things simple, Marleau said.

 "I think sometimes people try to do too much in front of their home fans," Marleau said. "We have to try to control our emotions."


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