SAN JOSE, Calif. – Ryane Clowe plopped down on the bench in front of his locker and leaned back against the wall. He just finished a long, exhausting, yet satisfying day.
“It was a work day for me,” said Clowe, who recorded a goal, an assist and earned a fighting major in the San Jose Sharks’ 3-1 win over the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night. “When you’re on and off you never know when your next shift is going to be. It seemed like we were playing too much in the neutral zone but when we got down low, we were effective.”
Sharks coach Todd McLellan won another game against a former employer when Jamie McGinn and Clowe scored within 2:14 of each other in the third period. Mike Grier also scored for the Sharks, who remained unbeaten at home in seven games and own the best record in the NHL at 11-2.
“They are a disciplined team but as we got our legs under us we played loose,” Grier said. “We made a couple mistakes in the second but Nabby bailed us out and we had the third to redeem ourselves.”
Krystofer Kolanos scored for the Wild, who lost their eighth straight to the Sharks.
McLellan coached the Wild’s AHL team in Houston to the Calder Cup championship in 2003 before joining the Detroit Red Wings, whom the Sharks beat last week at home.
“There were a lot of familiar faces,” McLellan said. “There were a number of players I had the opportunity to spend time with. That organization does a good job in developing talent.”
Kolanos scored his first NHL goal in over three years. The former Phoenix first-round draft pick last scored on Nov. 3, 2005 as a member of the Coyotes. He was recalled from the Aeroes on Monday, but was unable to practice with the team because his equipment didn’t make it to San Jose.
“That’s a very good feeling, something I’ve worked very hard for,” Kolanos said. “I was pretty calm. I felt prepared. There was a good feeling in the stomach, an exciting feeling.”
Kim Johnsson’s shot from the blue-line bounced off Evgeni Nabokov’s chest and Kolanos was in perfect position to fling the puck into the net with 15:11 remaining to play in the first period.
“Overall the guys played hard,” Wild coach Jacques Lemaire said. “What changed the dynamic of the game was the second goal. Backstrom made the save but the puck went back to another player and they scored. They are a top team and when you make a mistake it ends up in the net.”
The Sharks tied it with 2:39 left in the period on a deflection by Grier off a shot by Clowe.
McGinn scored on a rebound of a Jeremy Roenick shot with 16:49 remaining to play to put the Sharks ahead and Clowe followed two minutes later with a shot off a pass from Grier.
“That second goal was a big goal for them,” Wild goalkeeper Niklas Backstrom said.
Clowe and Wild defender Erik Reitz each drew a five-minute fighting penalty after a lengthy scuffle midway through the third period.
The Sharks, who rank second in the NHL in shots per game, recorded 49 against the Wild.
Notes: Wild D Brent Burns was scratched with soreness in his upper body. … Kolanos played in his first NHL game since Dec. 15, 2005 with the Edmonton Oilers. … Grier scored his eighth goal against the Wild, his most against any team except Calgary (11). … Clowe scored a goal in his third straight and six of seven games overall. … The Sharks were 4-5-2 at home through November last year. … The Wild are scoreless in their last 16 power play opportunities.