Analysis: Without Clowe, Sharks lines in turmoil

May 10, 2011, 3:12 pm
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May 10, 2011
SHARKS PAGE SHARKS VIDEO Coverage begins at 4:30 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet California.
Ray Ratto
CSNCalifornia.comDETROIT -- Ryane Clowes absence from Game 6 throws at least three, and maybe even all four Sharks lines into at least mild turmoil. Whether or not that is necessarily a bad thing remains to be seen.

Clowe did not make the trip to Detroit because of what are being described as flu-like symptoms, and was not slapped on a Kevin Compton private jet at the last minute either. In short, hes out, and may be out if there is a Game 7. Coach Todd McLellan only called it an upper-body injury, and said it was not caused by the Niklas Kronwall hit 1:32 into the third period. He said he knew late in Game 5 that Clowe wasnt right and might not make the trip.

The Clowe loss punches a hole in the Logan Couture line and creates an opening that might very well be filled by Benn Ferriero. That would be the move that least disrupts the rest of the forward combinations, but McLellan may look for a more comprehensive approach that would affect all four lines in search of creating greater adjustments by the Wings -- especially involving Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg. As it is, the Wings are sitting one-legged winger Johan Franzen (ankle) and playing Mike Modano in his stead tonight, and Babcock hinted other potential changes.

The Sharks are maintaining that they played well for 55 minutes in Game 5 and only made mistakes at 2-0 and 3-1 that caused Detroit to close those gaps and ultimately win the game. That may be a generous interpretation, but the players and McLellan agreed that they did not take their feet off the pedal after the two-goal leads.
We just made mistakes there, McLellan said. The one (by Kronwall 53 seconds after Joe Pavelskis goal made it 2-0) came off a defensive mistake, and the other one, we kill a penalty right after the (Couture) goal, and then just make an error in our own end.

Clowes absence puts more pressure on the other players, because hes a good player, McLellan said, but it also reinforces the fact that the players who are on the ice are more important than the ones who arent.

Note: San Joses 10 playoff games with Detroit the past two seasons have ended either 2-1 or 4-3, with the lone exception being Detroits 7-1 win in Game 4 last year. In the 18 games played between the two teams since the start of last season, San Jose is 11-7, but Detroit has outscored the Sharks, 52-51.

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