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.

NHL Gameday: Sharks go for fifth straight win in only visit to Colorado

NHL Gameday: Sharks go for fifth straight win in only visit to Colorado

Programming note – Sharks-Avalanche coverage starts today at 6:00 p.m. on NBCSN

WHERE THEY STAND

Sharks: 29-16-2, 60 points, 2nd Pacific Division
Avalanche: 13-29-2, 28 points, 7th Central Division

PREGAME NEWS AND NOTES

***Tonight’s game is the second of a home-and-home for the Sharks and Avalanche, after San Jose’s 3-2 win in overtime at SAP Center on Saturday, and the final game of the season series. David Schlemko got the deciding score 1:18 into the extra frame, as the Sharks improved to 6-1-1 in their last eight against Colorado.

The Sharks have won four straight, while Colorado, just 2-14-1 in its last 17, has lost five in a row. The Avs have not won in regulation since Dec. 11 at Toronto.

***Colorado will reportedly give rookie Spencer Martin his second straight start after he made 27 saves in his NHL debut against the Sharks on Saturday. 

Martin Jones is tied for third in the NHL with 24 wins, and is 5-1-0 in his last six starts.

***Four of the Sharks’ last six games have been decided by one goal, including three in a row. San Jose is 16-10-2 in one-goal games – the second most one-goal wins in the league, and the most one-goal losses in regulation.

KEEP AN EYE ON...

Sharks: Kevin Labanc. The Sharks rookie has hit a bit of a wall since bursting onto the scene, going without a goal for the last 10 games. Coach Pete DeBoer said recently that he had a talk with the rookie about maintaining a high level of play, and Labanc has been more noticeable in his last two games, recording an assist in each. The 21-year-old has 14 points (7g, 7a) in 34 games this season.

Avalanche: Nathan MacKinnon. No forward was more effective for Colorado on Saturday against the Sharks than MacKinnon, their lone All-Star, who recorded a game-high seven shots and set up the tying goal in the third period. The first pick in the 2013 draft has 10 points (7g, 3a) in 10 career games when opposing San Jose, and is Colorado’s leading scorer with 32 points (11g, 21a).

PROBABLE LINES

Sharks
Patrick Marleau – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Joonas Donskoi – Logan Couture – Mikkel Boedker
Kevin Labanc – Chris Tierney – Joel Ward
Timo Meier – Tommy Wingels – Melker Karlsson

Paul Martin – Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon – David Schlemko

Martin Jones 
Aaron Dell

Avalanche
Mikko Rantanen – Nathan Mackinnon – Mikhail Grigorenko
Gabriel Landeskog – Matt Duchene – Matt Nieto
Blake Comeau – Carl Soderberg – Jarome Iginla
Andreas Martinsen – John Mitchell – Joe Colborne

Francois Beauchemin – Cody Goloubef
Fedor Tyutin – Nikita Zadorov
Patrick Wiercioch – Eric Gelinas

Spencer Martin (starter)
Calvin Pickard

INJURIES

Sharks: Micheal Haley (lower body), Dylan DeMelo (broken wrist) and Tomas Hertl (right knee sprain) are out.

Avalanche: Tyson Barrie (lower body) and Rene Bourque (lower body) are day-to-day. Semyon Varlamov (groin) and Erik Johnson (broken fibula) are out.

QUOTEABLE

“I felt we did a pretty good job in our end, [but] we probably played there a little too much. We didn’t execute as well as we wanted to coming out of our end or through the neutral zone. There’s going to be games like that and it’s good to find a way to win.” – David Schlemko, after Saturday’s win

Three takeaways: Sharks make life easy on Avs rookie goalie

Three takeaways: Sharks make life easy on Avs rookie goalie

SAN JOSE – It took overtime for the Sharks to surpass the worst team in the NHL, but the points are valuable any way they come in the second half. Here are our three takeaways from the 3-2 victory on Saturday night…

1 – Top guys struggle, but depth comes through

It wasn’t a very good night for the captain’s line, which was particularly sloppy on Colorado’s tying goal in the third period. Brent Burns and Marc-Edouard Vlasic weren’t much better, as the former was caught out of position a couple times, and the latter was tagged with six giveaways.

But those guys have been playing the bulk of the minutes lately, so they’re allowed to have an off night. At least, that’s how Pete DeBoer saw it.

“We've ridden our big guys pretty hard,” DeBoer said. “They played some tough minutes with some of the opponents we played this week, in L.A. and on and on. Tonight's a night you're looking for your depth guys to step up and give you some energy, and I thought we got that."

The Sharks’ fourth line was probably its best from start to finish, including Melker Karlsson’s goal, from Ryan Carpenter.

“[Tomas] Hertl's missed 30 games, so we needed somebody to come in and help us out in that area, and he's done that,” DeBoer said of Carpenter.

2 – Making it too easy on Martin

Spencer Martin was making his NHL debut in difficult circumstances, playing in front of what has been an incredibly loose team in its own end against one of the best teams in the Western Conference. But, the Sharks made it easy on him most of the night.

Avs forward Nathan MacKinnon, who had a tremendous game, told the Denver Post that he thought Colorado was the better team.

“Tonight, we outplayed them,” he said. “We outplayed the team that went to the (Stanley Cup) Finals last year, and there were some bright spots for us. We have to climb out of this hole and have a good last 30, 40 games here and go into next season feeling pretty good about ourselves.”

They’ll get another chance against the Sharks on Monday at Pepsi Center as the teams conclude their two-game season series. San Jose will try and give the Colorado goalie, whoever it is, a more difficult time.

“When we’re on our game, we’re making it tough with grind time and traffic at the net, some chances,” Joe Pavelski said. “Tonight we didn’t have as many as we could have had. We’ll try to find a little bit more for next game.”

Schlemko said: “We just didn’t have as much grind time in the o-zone as we usually do. If you’re not playing in their end you’re usually playing in your end.”

3 – Ward gets another on the power play

Joel Ward’s resurgence continues, as the forward again found a way to contribute on the scoresheet. His first period power play goal was one of the easier scores he’ll have, on a nice setup by Joe Thornton.

“[Thornton] had it behind the net and came around the side, and sent it to me on the far side, so it went in,” Ward said.

The 36-year-old Ward has nine points (3g, 6a) in his last 13 games. To put that in perspective, the last time he was a healthy scratch on Dec. 20, he had just nine points in 31 games on the season.