Sharks

Clowe: Poke-check from bench a 'brain cramp'

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Clowe: Poke-check from bench a 'brain cramp'

SAN JOSE Ryane Clowe didnt want to talk about his now infamous poke-check from the bench in the immediate aftermath of Thursdays 6-5 Sharks win in Los Angeles. With an obvious tongue-in-cheek, Clowe said that he would need someone to show him the video of when he tipped the puck away from Jarret Stoll on a Kings rush late in the third.

RELATED: Box score -- Sharks 6, Kings 5 (SO) Game recap

So, he knew what was coming at Sharks Ice on Friday afternoon when he was surrounded by a small media contingent.

Did you have a chance to look at the video, Ryane? he asked in the third person, with a chuckle.

He spoke somewhat remorsefully about the play that should have given the Kings a two-man advantage late in regulation of what was a 5-5 tie.

It was kind of a brain cramp there, I guess, Clowe said. I was standing up, and sometimes during the game like that youre so into it and emotional, it was just kind of a reaction. I cant say it was something that was planned, it just happens.

When I sat down on the bench I said that was stupid. That was a dumb play. It probably should have been a two-minute penalty for interference or too many men, or something. I was lucky I didnt cost the team a penalty. It was definitely a brain cramp at the time. I dont think youll ever see that happen again.

He got away with it, of course, and the Sharks collected the necessary two points to keep another Pacific Division title within their grasp.

I guess now you can giggle a little bit because fortunately, nothing happened at the time. It wouldnt have been a laughing matter if we got a penalty for that, he said.

Sharks captain Joe Thornton took a different route than Clowe. The captain was amused with the situation on Friday afternoon, and had some fun with it.

I just had a good laugh out of it, to be honest with you, Thornton said. For me, its probably the play of the year.

It probably wasnt the smartest thing to do, but I have a good sense of humor and it was pretty funny to me.

As Clowe alluded to, the fact that he didnt get caught by Stephen Walkom or Brian Pochmara was a tad suspicious, as it seemed everyone in Staples Center other than the two referees saw what happened.

Todd McLellan was already displeased with some undisciplined penalties his club had taken earlier in the game, leading to no less than four Kings power play goals.

As a team we want to be emotionally attached to the game, but with that comes some emotional control. I thought it was a very intense game yesterday, and at times it got the better of us, said the coach. I thought we took far too many penalties, and penalties we didnt need to take.

That should have been one of them. Had the officials caught it, it would have been too many men on the ice and we would have put ourselves down short again. An ill-advised move on Clowies behalf, and I dont think well see it again. We move on.

Clowe will get another chance to play villain on Saturday, when the teams conclude the regular season against one another at HP Pavilion with a lot on the line.

Im just happy weve got a chance to win the division. If we can do that, Im sure theyll be even more ticked off, he said.

Odds and ends: Torrey Mitchell did not skate and is doubtful to play in the season finale. Mitchell suffered a late hit in the first period from Colin Fraser, left the ice, and did not return. ... The Sharks can clinch the Pacific Division title with a win on Saturday combined with Phoenix recording fewer than three points in its final two games. The Coyotes visit St. Louis on Friday night and Minnesota on Saturday.

What Sharks like about way they are playing despite loss to Sabres

What Sharks like about way they are playing despite loss to Sabres

SAN JOSE - Saturday night's Sharks-Sabres matchup ended up being an entertaining one for sure, with a lot of the action taking place in the final 20 minutes of the game.

And even though San Jose lost 4-3 and had their three-game winning-streak snapped, they still believe that their overall game is headed in the right direction. 

"When I look at seven or eight games that we've played, that's probably one of the better 60-minute efforts we've got," Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer said afterward. "I think we're getting better. I can tell you, I like where our game's at now a lot better than I did two weeks ago."

Captain Logan Couture agreed, although he wanted to see a different result in Saturday's contest.

"I thought we played well, we could've done some things better," Couture said, giving the opposition the credit they deserve. "They're a very good team. It's no fluke over there that they have their record. They're playing very good hockey. We had an opportunity to beat them, just one more mistake on our end tonight."

One of the biggest problems San Jose ran into was penalty trouble in the second period. Sure, the penalty kill remains dominant and was able to keep Buffalo's potent power play from finding the back of the net. In fact, San Jose's special teams overall played a huge factor in them keeping the game close. But as Couture explained, being down a skater for too long can have a negative effect on a team's even-strength game -- even one with as good of a PK as San Jose has right now.

"It's tough to get in a rhythm," Couture explained. "There were so many penalties. For our line, especially, I think we only had two even-strength shifts in the second."

But the Sharks are happy with how they pushed back late in the game to keep things close. After the Sabres jumped out to a 2-1 lead at the end of the second period, the Sharks began creating more chances in their own end to keep the visitors from running away with the game. They traded tallies with Buffalo thanks to two big goals from Tomas Hertl and Marcus Sorensen. Even after Zemgus Girgensons buried the Sabres' fourth goal on the evening, San Jose continued to press and get looks in front of the net as the final few minutes of play expired.

"I liked our resiliency," DeBoer said. "I thought we battled all night."

[RELATED: Marleau reflects on Sharks return]

The Sharks will get another crack at the Sabres this upcoming Tuesday as they kick off an East Coast swing in Buffalo. San Jose might not be very happy with the mistakes they made on Saturday night, but they can at least see that their overall game his trending in the right direction.

"We still had a couple of bad mistakes, but we have to learn from it and be better," Hertl said. "It's kind of a tough loss but we have to bounce back. We (play) against them in the next game so we have to be ready for them."

Sharks takeaways: What we learned in streak-snapping 4-3 loss to Sabres

Sharks takeaways: What we learned in streak-snapping 4-3 loss to Sabres

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE - The Sharks' first standoff of the season against the Sabres was a fast-paced and tight-checking fete that saved most of its drama for the last 20 minutes of play.

But even with a couple of third-period goals to keep things interesting, Team Teal couldn't quite pull this one off against the visiting Buffalo squad and dropped the final game of their homestand 4-3.

Here are three takeaways from Saturday's game:

Going to the net

The Sharks might have been better on the defensive side of their game, particularly in their own end. But they struggled throughout Saturday's contest with getting in front of Buffalo's net and generating good shots. In fact, San Jose only tallied one shot on goal through nearly 13 minutes in the second period.

You do have to give San Jose's offense credit for turning it up in the latter part of the game, though. After Casey Mittelstadt's bizarre goal gave the Sabres a 2-1 lead, the Sharks turned things up and notch. They not only got more o-zone time but had a much better net-front presence. It's no wonder they were able to knot the score back up twice in the third period -- even if they weren't able to score the tie-breaking goal and get the win.

Going in for the kill

One of the biggest tests for the Sharks in Saturday's game was to stay out of the penalty box, given they were going up against one of the best power plays in the league. So, naturally, it was a bit of a nail-biter when San Jose got into a little penalty trouble in the second period.

San Jose did succeed in silencing Buffalo's power play, even if it wasn't very pretty. While Martin Jones wasn't quite as sharp on Saturday as he has been as of late, the team in front of him did a good job of halting the Sabres on the man advantage.

[RELATED: Marleau reflects on Sharks return]

The kid was all right

Noah Gregor didn't score a goal on Saturday night -- even though his new teammates tried to set him up for one. The 21-year-old forward did, however, have a good showing in his NHL debut, displaying a ton of speed as if he was already completely accustomed to the pace of a big-league game.

Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer said on Saturday morning that he would prefer it if one of San Jose's young players would seize the opportunity to be a regular on the team's fourth line with Dylan Gambrell and Melker Karlsson. Gregor only has one game under his belt, but he is already making a good case to stick around for a while.