To a man, everyone in the Sharks lockerroom following the 2-1 shootout victory against Los Angeles thoroughly enjoyed the conclusion. Sure the victory jumped San Jose into a Pacific Division first place tie with the Kings, but the players were more happy it was Ryane Clowe
who sealed the deal with the final shootout tally.
Clowe has been snake bitten this season, going goalless in all 13 games (the shootout winner does not count as an actual goal), but tabbing the game-winner may as well have been a multi-goal performance.
“We know how much pressure he puts on himself,” said Nabokov. “I’m glad it happened and he got the goal. We know how good of a player he is.”
“He is a very important part of our team and right now we’re happy for him,” said McLellan. “He should feel good about himself tonight. The longer you go (in a drought), the deeper the hole. Maybe this will give him something to hang his hat on.”
Clowe was equally excited to nail the winner.
“I was just happy to see it hit the back of the net,” said Clowe. “Something like that can give you a little confidence.”
It was not a major surprise when Clowe’s number came up from Todd McLellan as the big forward has had past shootout success.
“I’ve done pretty well in the shootout,” said Clowe. “I like that move and knew what I was going to do. I was just trying to use my reach and I’m glad it worked.”
The Sharks work on the shootout in practice and it was Nabokov who had recently provided some key advice.
“I talked with Nabby the last few days,” said Clowe. “He said to freeze the goalie and go backhand.”
Clowe would not have had an opportunity to close out the game had Nabokov not stood on his head in the first period when the Kings outshot San Jose 13-5.
“He had a couple of great saves,” said Clowe. “He kept us in the there in the first period.”
“Nabby gave us a chance to work into the game and, in the end, he closed it out,” said McLellan. “Coming out the way we did in the first, we don’t get the opportunity to get back in it if Nabby doesn’t play the way he did.”
The only Kings shot that crossed the line was a lucky deflection that went off Marc-Edouard Vlasic
“It was a bad bounce on the goal for Nabby,” said Clowe.
SPEED KILLSPatrick Marleau
scored the tying goal for San Jose. While racing down the wing, the defender attempted to turn and before it was complete, Marleau was by him and blasted a slapper.
“Patty’s got a third, fourth and fifth gear,” said McLellan. “He’s like a Corvette.”
Marleau extended his point streak to six games. During that span he has five goals and six assists for 11 points. Marleau and Joe Thornton
are now tied for the team lead in points with 17.
HELPING OUTDan Boyle
extended his assist streak to three games with his helper on Marleau’s second period goal. Boyle now has four assists in the last three games.
LOS ANGELES KINGS COACH TERRY MURRAY
“It was a very even game. We played very well in the first period. I thought we had an edge in the first. They came back with a strong second and did the same to us as we did in the first. In the third I thought both teams had some opportunities.”
“You want to get two points every chance you get. This is a premier team in the league. This is probably the best team in the league. When you do come in and you play well, you’re going away with some encouragement. You’re talking about the positive stuff that you did addressing the team. But there was an opportunity there to win it tonight.”
“I don’t use [the Sharks] as a measuring stick. I don’t use any particular game as a measuring stick. We know this is the best team in the league. They showed that last year. They have an incredible amount of talent. They can dominate with that line. That Thornton line dominates any line, any game they want to go out and do it, but I don’t use any one of these games to see how far we’ve come or where we are.”
San Jose will host the NHL leading Colorado Avalanche Friday night at HP Pavilion. The 7:30 p.m. contest will be available on CSN California (CSN Plus for satellite users), 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com. Tickets can be found at the HP Pavilion Ticket Office and at www.ticketmaster.com.