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Quick Thoughts: Couture Leads Way for Comeback Sharks in 4-3 Shootout Win

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Credit: NBCS Bay Area

Where would the San Jose Sharks be without Logan Couture?

They’d be a lot worse than 5-5-1, that’s for sure.

The captain came through once again for the Sharks, registering a goal, assisting on Evander Kane’s game-tying goal, and then scoring the shootout game-winner in San Jose’s 4-3 victory over Los Angeles. All this while pacing forwards on both teams, including the tireless Anze Kopitar, in ice time at 23:15.

“He was our best player tonight,” Bob Boughner said.

It’s been a good week for Couture in Southern California: On Friday, his early third period strike jumpstarted the Sharks’ comeback win over Anaheim; the following night, he scored San Jose’s lone regulation goal in a 2-1 shootout loss.

In a challenging season for the San Jose Sharks – most of their name-brand players have been inconsistent and they’ve been on the road for 39 of the last 43 days – Couture has been a pillar of strength.

“He’s dealt with a lot with training camp, being our NHLPA rep, and the play on the ice. He’s handling it unbelievably. He’s a guy who just shows up to play the right way every night. Playing against the other team’s best players most times,” Boughner offered of his second-year captain. “He’s a lot more vocal [this year]. He’s evolving into a great captain.”

But will Couture get any help? He certainly did tonight.

A lot of credit goes to Couture’s much-maligned linemate Kane. Since reuniting with Couture in Anaheim, Kane notched a game-tying shortie on Friday, was the catalyst for Couture’s goal on Saturday, and muscled the Sharks into overtime tonight.

Even more promising for San Jose, it wasn’t just one line carrying the load tonight. Timo Meier added a goal, off a Tomas Hertl and Ryan Donato forecheck, and fourth-liner Patrick Marleau played, according to Couture, his best game of the season.

Up and down, this might’ve been the Sharks’ most complete four-line game this year. This bodes well for a team that has struggled to get more than a couple lines going on a nightly basis.

Second Period Stink

It’s been a big story since the San Jose Sharks surrendered three unanswered goals to the Ducks in the second period on Friday, blowing a 1-0 lead: Do the Sharks have a second period problem?

Their last two appearances have done nothing to dispel the notion, at least on the scoreboard. On Saturday, leading 1-nil, they gave up a middle frame goal to tie the game. Tonight, leading 2-0, they gave up a pair of second period goals to tie the game.

San Jose has been outscored a mind-boggling 20-5 in the second period this season.

But I wouldn’t be too worried about this anomaly: Even a shortened season will have many ebbs and flows.

Instead of the goals against, I’m going to concentrate on the generally solid second period hockey at 5-on-5 that the Sharks have played over the last two contests. Per Natural Stat Trick, San Jose outchanced Anaheim 9-6 and 3-2 High-Danger in Saturday’s middle frame; they were outchanced by Los Angeles 5-4 and tied 3-3 High-Danger tonight.

These are both contests where the Sharks outscored and outclassed their opponents in the first period; a response was inevitable, and they managed it well enough…at 5-on-5. Instead, they were undone by other things, some bad luck and things very much in their control. On Saturday, it was a double-deflection Isac Lundstrom goal. Tonight, it was a bad Brent Burns read that led to a Kopitar breakaway and three consecutive penalties.

“We shot ourselves in the foot in the second,” Boughner said.

But it wasn’t a case where San Jose was roundly outplayed. Right now, they’re on pace to get outscored by 76 goals in the second period – that’s not going to happen.

Comeback Sharks?

A disappointing 2019-20 season seems to be in the rear view for the San Jose Sharks. The Sharks haven’t been great by any stretch – probably not even good – but they’ve consistently responded to adversity, unlike last year’s edition.

“That’s the thing I’m most proud of so far,” Couture said. “We’ve put ourselves in tough positions, whether it’s 3-1, down to the Ducks and coming back, or tonight, where we give up one and find a way to score.

“Definitely proud of the way we’ve fought to the end in most, if not all these games.”

They responded to series-opening losses to St. Louis and Minnesota with victories. After being completely outclassed by Colorado in that series-opener, they managed to keep the rubber match competitive.

And as Couture noted, they came back from third-period deficits against Anaheim and Los Angeles for comeback wins.

If you can believe it, these two third-period comeback victories already match San Jose’s entire 2019-20 output in this category: There’s no doubt last year’s Sharks were a front-running squad.

Martin Jones is optimistic: “It’s a good sign.”

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Alicia

Another game, another “let’s blow it in the 2nd period”, another shoot out, and another pity point for the opposing team. Can we PLEASE start winning games in regulation?! I sent a text to my son and told him that I would have brain damage by the end of this season from banging my head against the wall. In this shortened season, those loser points will work against us IMO. Now about Couture… I have been his biggest fan since he came into the league. You can ask my family and friends and they will tell you about my obsession… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by Alicia
Alaskan_ice

You’re creepy.

I jest. Good soliloquy. It is bunk that our boys aren’t winning in regulation but there IS good stuff going on here. They’re getting better, Logan is leading.
Fans want it now. This may benefit us as it did for St. Louis year before last. We come together later and ride through.
I can hope.

Go Sharks!!

Alicia

Hope springs eternal and I am all about hope. No matter how bad it can be, I never give up on these guys. You are right there are some good things going on also.

I have hope too 🙂

Signed, the creepy cougar. LOL! (kidding of course – just had to throw that in there)

Last edited 2 months ago by Alicia
Joe

Another nail biter. Don’t understand the 2nd period let down. Kane saved the day. Still waiting for EK65 to be that difference maker. One point so far. I see Meier and Hertl stepping their sense of urgency up. Would be nice to win one in regulation. Donato really shows promise. Seems to be in the right places. With more experience he will be a stud.

Alicia

I guess the upside of the 2nd period slumps is that we are not consistently giving up a goal every game in the first five minutes of play!

tomulo

One win so far this season – these shootout wins are glorified ties. Most important stat: 11-16 in points gained vs given. I can’t see any team making the playoffs with this under .500 in current format.

The only thing that gives me some hope is the fact that they haven’t played a home game yet. With that said, the broadcast team made a good point, that with all these postponed games, the season could be shortened and the Sharks may not get those home games back.

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