recorded his second goal of the early postseason, and it was a big one as it proved to be the game-winner. Clowe’s strong play in the first two games prompted Sharks Head Coach Ron Wilson to move the Newfoundland native up to Patrick Marleau
’s unit and the change paid off.
Clowe’s tally came at the end of a Sharks power play attempt, but the Sharks continued the pressure and Matt Carle found Clowe across the ice.
“It was a great pass at the end of the power play,” said Clowe. “I didn’t yell, but just threw my stick up. He (Tomas Vokoun) may have been cheating over and I wanted to get my shot off quick.”
It technically wasn’t a power play goal, but the power play created the tally and when that happens, the Sharks are 2-1 in the series.
“It was right there (being close on the power play),” said Carle. “Tonight we got back to the drawing board and got a little more confidence moving the puck around.”
“We got traffic in front and fond a way to get shots through,” said Wilson. “We outshot them 2-1 and a lot had to do with wearing them down on the power play. We didn’t score, but we kept their skill guys off the ice.”
Carle’s pass was a thing of beauty as three Predator defenders thought they could reach it.
“It was a great play,” said Wilson. “He tries that all the time and it works 15 percent of the time. That time it worked. It was a great play and Clowe made a great shot.”
Clowe knows the work his Captain put in to create the final goal in the 3-1 victory. On the effort, Marleau forced a turnover that was sent back to Bill Guerin. Then when Guerin fired on net, Marleau made a beautiful tip past Vokoun.
“That goal was a big difference,” said Clowe. “In the first game when we went up, we sat back. Tonight, we kept pushing.”
The trio combined for two of the Sharks three goals on the night, the game-winner and the insurance tally.
Had the Sharks played on Sunday, Steve Bernier may not have even been in the lineup.
“I feel great right now,” said Bernier.
On Monday, Bernier showed why his teammates call him Big Bear. On one particular series, Bernier flattened a Nashville forward, and then carried the play to the opposite end of the ice, drawing a penalty.
“This is my job,” said Bernier. “To play five-on-five and create stuff. Go to the net and create some offense.”
NO DIRTY PLAY
For the first time in the series, the Predators were not awarded a major penalty or game misconduct.
“I think both teams played legal and that’s what hockey is all about,” said Bernier. “I think it was a good game.”
The referees have made the calls all series and were on top of things in Game 3 as well.
“They called things on both teams and you can’t be stupid on the ice,” said Bernier.
The Sharks did not give up on their game plan, despite Nashville ruining the Game 3 playoff start at HP Pavilion by scoring first.
“We didn’t get down (on the plan) early,” said Carle.
San Jose played strong hockey all over the ice and used their size and strength throughout the evening.
“We kept moving our feet and tried to draw penalties,” said Wilson. “We managed to control the puck.”
The Sharks earned six power plays to Nashville’s two.
CALMING THE NERVES
For as much as HP Pavilion is known far and wide as one of the loudest buildings in pro sports, player enthusiasm must be tempered.
“We talked to the team before and checked some nerves before taking the ice,” said Wilson. “The reception was loud and the adrenaline can sometimes tighten you up.”
JUST HELPING OUT
With an assist in the second period, Joe Thornton
has now scored eleven points (2-9=11) in his last ten playoff games.
Marleau’s goal added to his all time Sharks postseason points leader total (29-20=49).
PREDATORS HEAD COACH, BARRY TROTZ
“We got through the first period. We knew the energy level would be great in this building, like in our building. I thought we did a pretty good job. We had a break and scored on a goal on the transitional play for us. I thought we had a pretty good first period for coming into a pretty tough place. Obviously, in the second period, [the Sharks] got momentum and a couple penalties. We had a chance when it was 1-0; we had two good chances- Arnott and Forsberg. Obviously, they had a lot of momentum.”
Game 4 at HP Pavilion will be at 7 p.m. and it will be available on Versus, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.