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Clowe goes wild in win over Minnesota
Sharks put 49 shots on goal in 3-1 victory
11/4/08 - By Mike Lee

It took 40 minutes to kick things into gear, but the Sharks continued to roll at home where they defeated the visiting Minnesota Wild 3-1 on Tuesday night. Ryane Clowe scored a goal and added an assist to go along with a 3rd period fight that gave the Sharks their first Gordie Howe hat trick in two seasons. Clowe took control in that period to propel the Sharks who extended their lead in the Western Conference.

To no one’s surprise the Wild tried to slow down the game from the onset, but the Sharks still managed to put the puck on net.

“It was a sloppy effort on our part for 40 minutes,” Sharks head coach Todd McLellan said after the game.

Even after out-shooting the wild 14-8 in the opening period, the Sharks had to play catch up after Minnesota got on the scoreboard first. Krystofer Kolanos converted on a Kim Johnsson deflection in tight, after beating Marc-Edouard Vlasic to the puck as it pin-balled to the top of the crease. The Wild centerman made the most of his call up from the minors on Tuesday morning by sweeping the loose puck over Evgeni Nabokov, who tried to defend his goal by diving to the ice.

"Well, I thought early in the game our response was poor," McLellan said. "We had to address that between the second and third periods. After that we buckled down and played the way we should have. But it was a sloppy effort on our behalf for forty minutes. I'm proud of the way the team responded in the third but we can't leave games hanging like that."

Vlasic’s night got worse after he wasted a San Jose power play by taking an ill-timed tripping penalty midway through the period. The malaise even seemed to affect one of the Sharks more energetic lines.

“Normally Pav’s line is flying all over the ice,” McLellan added. “I thought they were dragging a bit tonight.”

Mike Grier tied the game at 17:21 by deflecting a Clowe one-time chance from the slot off his skate. Tomas Plihal setup the goal with a nice pass from behind the Wild net after skating along the end boards from right to left. Grier was locked up in front of the crease as the Clowe shot changed direction to slip past Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom.

The Sharks got the short end of the stick midway through the 2nd period after defenseman Dan Boyle was slew-footed by Wild forward Cal Clutterbuck. Boyle crashed awkwardly into the boards, then went down with what appeared to be a leg injury. Clowe went after Clutterbuck and subsequently earned a roughing minor. While on the penalty kill, Jonathan Cheechoo was tripped up in his own zone, creating a prime scoring chance, but referee Mike Leggo decided that it wasn’t a penalty after raising his hand with what appeared to be a call.

The Sharks almost converted in the final minute of play after defenseman Christian Ehrhoff pinched on a rush. Ehrhoff’s shot just glanced off of Backstrom, preserving the deadlock entering the 2nd intermission.

Jamie McGinn gave the Sharks the lead 3:11 into the 3rd period with a put back from the high slot. McGinn first fired a shot from the right dot that bounced off a Wild player over to the off wing, where Jeremy Roenick tried pushing the puck past Backstrom. Roenick’s shot attempt then deflected back to McGinn, who buried it for his 2nd career goal.

"They had a lot of shots on net," said Wild head coach Jacques Lemaire. They had a lot of good chances. I just wanted our guys to stay in the game, which they did. What changed the dynamic of the game was the second goal. It hit one player's leg and then Backstrom made the save and then hit another one of their players and it went in the net."

Clowe would push the Sharks lead to 3-1 just two minutes later after punching home his own rebound. Skating up the left wing, Clowe cranked a shot from 35 feet that Backstrom failed to control, allowing it to kick back out to the Sharks winger. He wouldn’t miss on his second chance, slipping his follow up shot inside the left post.

Clowe would add to his big night by engaging Wild rookie Erik Reitz with fisticuffs midway through the period to earn the Gordie Howe hat trick.

Andrew Brunette would take a holding the stick penalty 4 seconds after Reitz and Clowe were sent off, then Johnsson took a slashing penalty with 31 seconds remaining on Brunette’s penalty to give the Sharks a short 5-on-3. San Jose would fail to capitalize on the two-man advantage, but it was a back breaker for the Wild, who had less than 10 minutes to make up a 2-goal deficit.

Rather than sit back with the lead, the Sharks turned up the offensive heat. They would put 22 shots on goal in the period and fell one goal shy of their team record of 50 shots in a game.

“When you’re getting shots, it helps with your confidence,” Grier said. “With the talent and skill in this room the pucks will eventually go in.”

"They have a lot of great players who made a lot of great plays," added Lemaire. "I thought we had some chances, but when you are playing against a top team, you cant make mistakes."

Games Notes:

Five Sharks were named to the NHL All Star ballot on Tuesday. Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton, Dan Boyle, Rob Blake and Evgeni Nabokov were announced as ballot candidates for the game, which will be played on January 25th in Montreal.


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Scoring
1 2 3 T
MIN 1 0 0 1
SJ 1 0 2 3
1st period - 1, MIN, Kolanos 1 (Johnsson, Pouliot), 4:49. 2, SJ, Grier 2 (Clowe, Plihal), 17:21.
2nd period - None.
3rd period - 3, SJ, McGinn 2 (Roenick, Marleau), 3:11. 4, SJ, Clowe 6 (Grier, Boyle), 5:25.
Penalties
1st period - Nabokov, SJ (tripping), 5:01; Koivu, MIN (hooking), 10:57; Vlasic, SJ (tripping), 11:39.
2nd period - Pouliot, MIN (hooking), 3:19; Clowe, SJ (roughing), 12:14.
3rd period - Reitz, MIN (fighting major), 9:20; Clowe, SJ (fighting major), 9:20; Brunette, MIN (holding the stick), 9:24; Johnsson, MIN (slashing), 10:54; Belanger, MIN (cross checking), 16:36; Kolonos, MIN (cross checking), 19:58.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
MIN - Backstrom 49 46
SJ - Nabokov 24 23
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
MIN 8 11 5 24
SJ 14 13 22 49
Power Play Conversion
MIN 0 of 3
SJ 0 of 6
3 Stars of the Game
Ryane Clowe
Mike Grier
Niklas Backstrom
Attendence
17,183
Officials
Referees: Leggo, McCreary. Linesmen: Sericolo, Schachte.

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