Sharks

Clowe owns up to emotional mistake vs. Columbus

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Clowe owns up to emotional mistake vs. Columbus

TORONTO Ryane Clowe was in no mood to talk about his unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, leading to a key Columbus goal on Tuesday night, immediately following the 6-3 Sharks loss to the Blue Jackets.

As one of the more emotional guys on the team, that came as no surprise, as the undisciplined infraction by Clowe halted San Joses momentum after it had scored two straight goals in the second period, after surrendering four unanswered markers in the first.

RECAP: Sharks hit low point with 6-3 loss to Columbus

On Wednesday in Toronto, though, Clowe opened up about the mistake in judgment that helped key San Joses fourth straight loss.

I consider myself to be a pretty disciplined player, but last night I took an unsportsmanlike minor, that was me. Ive got to keep my emotions in check," Clowe said. "I didnt think the call was a great call on the first minor, but the second minor was a selfish penalty on my part. You cant take those. When the game gets emotional, weve got to keep those emotions in check a little better.

Clowe also took an avoidable roughing minor late in the first period when trying to defend Logan Couture, who had just been run into the boards by Columbus Ryan Johansen. That led to a power play goal by Jeff Carter, and also irked head coach Todd McLellan after the game.

McLellan mentioned he would have a chat with Clowe before Wednesdays practice, but instead the coach held a half-hour meeting with his entire club before a 45-minute skate at the Maple Leafs practice facility in the early afternoon.

We talked about it as a group. Theres a Catch-22 situation with a guy like Clowie, McLellan said. Hes always done a very admirable job of taking care of his teammates, Logan in particular. If theres an excessive situation hes always prepared to step in. Sometimes he gets away and lets his emotions get in front of him, and that was probably one of those situations, but we sure dont want to take that element of his game away.

Clowe was asked how Wednesdays meeting deferred from typical off-day meetings, now that the Sharks are just 1-4-1 on their nine-game road trip and have lost seven of the last nine overall (2-6-1).

It was longer. Guys spoke a little bit, within the team and players. We went over some video, and Todd addressed some areas that need to be fixed.

Weve just got to realize were playing playoff hockey. Were first in our division, which is a good thing, but were only a few points in the playoffs. Weve got to put our foot down and get on a streak.

Something smells fishy about Sharks' early success on power play

Something smells fishy about Sharks' early success on power play

By many traditional measures, the Sharks’ power play is off to a strong start.

They’ve scored seven times on 30 opportunities, including once in Saturday’s 5-3 loss to the New York Islanders. That mark, 23.3%, would have been good enough for third in the league last season, and is nearly seven percent better than the Sharks were in 2016-17.

San Jose’s made some changes on the man advantage, and are getting a different look on their top power play unit with Tim Heed there instead of another forward. Second-year forward Kevin Labanc is playing a significant role on the second unit, operating as something of a focal point.

The puck’s found the net a lot for the Sharks on the power play, but a deeper look at the numbers reveals that success may be a house of cards.

According to Natural Stat Trick, San Jose ranks in the bottom third of the league in shots, shot attempts, and unblocked shot attempts per 60 minutes. Using those rates allow us to compare teams empirically, equalizing for the amount of time each team has spent on the power play. Those rates, by the way, are not very good.

And each of those are lower than last season, when the Sharks finished 25th in power play percentage. This season, the Sharks are converting more shots, despite attempting less.

It would be tempting to think San Jose can hang their helmets on higher shot quality, but they’ve struggled in that area, too. The Sharks finished just shy of the top ten in high danger chances per 60 minutes last season, but are in the bottom third of the league this season, according to Natural Stat Trick.

So the Sharks are shooting at a lower rate and generating chances at a lower rate than last season, when they had one of the league’s worst power plays, but are scoring at a much higher clip. They’ve converted on about 19% of their shots on the power play, almost doubling their conversion rate (10.5%) from a season ago.

If this doesn’t seem like a sustainable mix, that’s because it’s not. In a small sample size of seven games, the power play’s been good enough, but the Sharks can’t count on converting nearly a fifth of their power play opportunities if they continue to struggle generating shots and chances.

Of course, stranger things have happened in a hockey season, so it’s possible the Sharks can ride a sky-high shooting percentage all season long. Banking on that, however, would be foolhardy.

Sharks come up short in New York despite Couture's hat trick

Sharks come up short in New York despite Couture's hat trick

BOX SCORE

NEW YORK — Anders Lee had two goals and an assist to lead the New York Islanders to a 5-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night.

John Tavares had a goal and two assists, Josh Bailey added a goal and an assist, and Andrew Ladd also scored to help the Islanders win for the third time in four games. Thomas Greiss stopped 28 shots.

Logan Couture scored all three goals for the Sharks, completing the hat trick with 1:52 remaining to pull them within one. Aaron Dell finished with 18 saves.

Ladd's goal at 3:12 of the third period broke a 2-2 tie. Rookie Mathew Barzal created the scoring chance by taking the puck around the net and then setting up Ladd in the high slot for his second of the season.

Lee's second of the game and fifth of the season gave the Islanders a two-goal cushion with 8:13 remaining as he converted an odd-man rush.

Tavares sealed the win with an empty-netter with 55.4 seconds remaining and helped improve to 22-4-4 in their two-plus seasons at Barclays Center. Tavares points were his first since he had two goals and an assist Oct. 7 against Buffalo, ending a five-game drought.

The Sharks scored the game's opening goal at 6:26 of the second period on the power play. San Jose came away with the offensive draw and Couture scored from the slot, redirected Brent Burns' point shot past Greiss.

The lead lasted just over a minute as Nick Leddy worked his way to the back of the net and then quickly fed Lee for the tying goal.

The Islanders went ahead 58 seconds later after Joe Thornton made a costly turnover in his own end to give Bailey a point-blank chance. Bailey was able to sneak the puck with a backhander between his skates and past Dell to put New York ahead 2-1.

However, an impressive effort by Jannik Hansen to spin past Brock Nelson in the neutral zone led to a quick feed to Couture, who took a few strides and then fired a shot past Greiss to even the score once again.

NOTES: The Islanders held a special pregame ceremony to honor alumni of the organization who were in town for an Islanders Alumni Weekend. Among the players on the ice were Bobby Nystrom, Clark Gillies, Bryan Trottier and Ed Westfall. ... The Islanders scratched D Scott Mayfield, F Josh Ho-Sang and F Nikulay Kulemin. ... San Jose scratched F Joel Ward, F Barclay Goodrow and D Dylan Demelo. ... The Islanders honored Tragically Hip front man Gord Downie by playing music from the band during warmups. Downie passed away on Oct. 17 after succumbing to brain cancer.

UP NEXT

Sharks: At the New York Rangers on Monday night.

Islanders: Host Arizona on Tuesday night.