Right Place, Right Time For Couture

Logan Couture Scores On Only Shot On Goal In Game 7

Friday, 05.13.2011 / 2:10 AM / News
By Tony Khing  - Staff Writer
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Right Place, Right Time For Couture
San Jose Sharks center Logan Couture, right, is congratulated by teammates after scoring against the Detroit Red Wings during the first period of Game 7 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup Western Conference semifinal playoff series Thursday, May 12, 2011, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
Baseball Hall of Fame executive Branch Rickey, the man who helped Jackie Robinson break the game’s color barrier, once said, “Luck is the residue of design.”

Logan Couture won’t argue with that statement.

For the record, Couture had one shot in Game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinals vs. Detroit.

But that was one impressive – and lucky – shot. Not lucky in the sense of getting the right bounce, but lucky because he worked for the opportunity and was in the right place at the right time.

At 19:01 of the first period, San Jose was fighting hard for the puck to the left of Detroit’s net. Detroit’s Henrik Zetterberg came out with the puck to the right of the net, but had Couture chasing him. Zetterberg avoided him and tried a backhand pass from the goal line to Brian Rafalski on the left wing.

But there was Couture in the circle to intercept the pass and he threw a quick wrister to the right corner of the net and past Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard.

“Zetterberg turned the corner, turned it over and he made a mistake. He doesn’t make many,” Couture said. “It was right on my tape and I shot it before Howard could get set and went top corner.

San Jose Sharks center Logan Couture, left, controls the puck as Detroit Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall chaes during the first period of Game 7 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup Western Conference semifinal playoff series Thursday, May 12, 2011, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
“I was surprised,” he added. “I shot it as quick as I could. I’ve tried to shoot glove on Howard this entire series because I think I can beat him there.”

While Couture’s goal won’t necessarily make him a hero like Jamie Baker, who scored the series-clincher in Game 7 of the 1994 quarterfinals vs. Detroit, this goal had importance. Not only did the goal give San Jose a 2-0 lead heading into the first intermission, but those late period goals have a way of swinging momentum towards the scoring team.

This goal is just one of many memorable moments for the 22-year-old Couture. During the season, he was among the National Hockey League goal scoring leaders with 32. Couture is also the 23rd rookie to ever score 20-plus road goals (23, the second-most in Sharks history). To top it all off, he’s a finalist for the Calder Memorial Trophy as the League’s rookie of the year.

Sure, he seems cool on the outside. He’s a frequent contributor to Twitter and he’s one of the most quotable Sharks players. When asked yesterday about how to approach tonight’s Game 7, Couture was the one who said, “You have to be confident in this game and not let anything affect you. You have to be borderline arrogant to play this game.”

Perhaps top professional athletes have to think that way to be successful. But they are human. Just ask Couture how he was on the bench late in the game.

“It’s a different game out there in the playoffs. It’s so intense,” Couture said. “There were times on the bench where I caught myself shaking. I was so nervous. It was pretty crazy. I never felt like that, that’s for sure.”

And if he was nervous, just imagine how his parents, Chet and Lori, were back home in Ontario.

San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton celebrates after the San Jose Sharks defeated the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 in Game 7 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup Western Conference semifinal playoff series Thursday, May 12, 2011, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
“They’ve probably sent me about 20 texts right now,” Couture said. “Dad is probably running around the house still and they won’t be able to sleep tonight.”

And if Couture’s parents want to watch him play in Vancouver, at least this time they won’t have to worry about having an expired passport, like they did when they tried to attend Game 3 of the conference semifinals in Detroit.

Maybe earning the right to play Vancouver was another case of “luck is the residue of design” too.

BEING THE LEADER
Joe Thornton had one assist in Game 7 on Devin Setoguchi’s goal that started the scoring. But in his 22 minutes, Thornton did other things to help the Sharks win.

He won 60 percent of his faceoffs and while he didn’t get the assist on Patrick Marleau’s third period goal, he started the play by getting the puck out of the defensive zone to Dan Boyle.

“The passion that he played with tonight is a clear example of what Jumbo brings to our team,” Setoguchi said. “He’s our captain. He’s got to be our catalyst. He worked extremely hard tonight and it rubbed off on everyone else.”

“That was a great pass,” Ryane Clowe said of the pass from behind the goal line to Setoguchi in the left slot for his goal. “But the play in the third, where he didn’t get the assist, that’s where you need the poise and composure from your leader. He settled the puck down in our own end and made a great play that led to a 3-on-2 goal.”

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 54 20 8 266 209 116
2 y - COL 82 52 22 8 250 220 112
3 x - STL 82 52 23 7 248 191 111
4 x - SJS 82 51 22 9 249 200 111
5 x - CHI 82 46 21 15 267 220 107
6 x - LAK 82 46 28 8 206 174 100
7 x - MIN 82 43 27 12 207 206 98
8 x - DAL 82 40 31 11 235 228 91
9 PHX 82 37 30 15 216 231 89
10 NSH 82 38 32 12 216 242 88
11 WPG 82 37 35 10 227 237 84
12 VAN 82 36 35 11 196 223 83
13 CGY 82 35 40 7 209 241 77
14 EDM 82 29 44 9 203 270 67

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Pavelski 82 41 38 23 79
J. Thornton 82 11 65 20 76
P. Marleau 82 33 37 0 70
L. Couture 65 23 31 21 54
B. Burns 69 22 26 26 48
T. Wingels 77 16 22 11 38
D. Boyle 75 12 24 -8 36
J. Demers 75 5 29 14 34
T. Hertl 37 15 10 11 25
M. Nieto 66 10 14 -4 24
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Stalock 12 5 2 .932 1.87
A. Niemi 39 17 7 .913 2.39
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