Clowe had two goals and an assist, Vesa Toskala made 29 saves and the Sharks beat the Phoenix Coyotes 4-1 Saturday night.
“He’s got good hands but more importantly he’s working away from the puck and that’s why we’re giving him the opportunity,” Sharks coach Ron Wilson said of Clowe. “That’s the first thing you’ve got to learn as a young player, getting the job done on your end.”
Jonathan Cheechoo and Matt Carle also scored, and Joe Thornton added three assists for the Sharks, who won for the fifth time in six games.
Shane Doan scored for the Coyotes, losers of two straight after a seven-game winning streak.
“Sometimes in this game you don’t understand the end result,” Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky said. “In a lot of ways we played better tonight than in the 8-0 win (on Dec. 30) but it doesn’t mean squat if you don’t win.”
Clowe broke a 1-1 tie at 14:28 of the second period when he one-timed Doug Murray’s pass from the left boards off a defenceman’s stick and over Curtis Joseph’s right shoulder for his eighth goal in five games.
“I think it was a big goal,” Clowe said. “We were kind of sliding a bit but we came up with a big shift.”
Carle made it 3-1 just 51 seconds into the third when he gained control of a long rebound near the left end line and slipped the puck behind Joseph. Cheechoo added a power-play goal with 9:31 remaining, redirecting Christian Ehrhoff’s shot from the point.
Clowe had given the Sharks an early lead on San Jose’s third and final shot of the first period, taking a pass from Thornton in the low slot and scoring off a quick wrist shot.
“When you’re playing with those guys (Thornton and Cheechoo) it’s a good thing to get open,” Clowe said. “It’s fun playing with those two guys. I’m getting more comfortable.”
Clowe has 11 goals and three assists in 21 games.
Phoenix tied the score with a power-play goal at 9:41 of the second. Ladislav Nagy passed the puck behind the net to Steven Reinprecht. When San Jose defenceman Kyle McLaren left Doan to cover Reinprecht, the Coyotes’ centre fed the puck to Doan on the top left edge of the crease for the goal.
The Coyotes were held to one shot on goal in the first, a power-play attempt from Doan from the right faceoff circle with 46 seconds to go in the period.
“If we hadn’t given up the power-play opportunity they wouldn’t have gotten a shot in the first period,” Wilson said.
Notes: San Jose leads the season series 3-2, winning the first two meetings and losing the next two before Saturday’s win. … Coyotes C Jeremy Roenick, who recorded a hat trick against the Sharks in Phoenix’s 8-0 win, was a healthy scratch. … Thornton’s first assist was the 400th of his career and 600th point. … Doan has eight goals and five assists in his last nine games. … Coyotes D Nick Boynton returned to the lineup for the first time since Nov. 25 and C Patrick Fischer was playing for the first time since Dec. 12. Boynton had been out with a fractured foot, Fischer with a strained groin.