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Elevating Their Game

Sunday, 05.19.2013 / 5:26 PM / News
By Jonathan Okanes  - Staff Writer
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Elevating Their Game

The Sharks helped teammate Logan Couture by improving their play when he got injured Saturday night. Couture then returned the favor by coming back and winning the game.

Couture missed most of the second period, but was able to return and score the game-winner in overtime to lift the Sharks to a 2-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings in Game 3 of the Western Conference Semifinals.

“I thought everybody elevated their game,” Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. “I thought our game management at that point of the night was as good as it’s been all year, as far as shift length, puck management, getting fresh people on the ice. It’s something we talked about. Why change it now just because Logan is back. Let’s keep doing that.”

Marty Havlat, who returned from a five-game layoff with an undisclosed injury, re-injured himself and also left the game after the first period. That left the Sharks down to 10 forwards, and forced McLellan into some tricky line shuffling and game management.

Despite being short-handed, the Sharks dominated the second period with several high-quality scoring chances.

“When guys went down, guys shortened their shifts and went a little harder,” San Jose’s Joe Pavelski said. “Everyone chipped in.”

Couture returned from the dressing room late in the second period and tested out his injury by skating briefly during a stoppage. He was healthy enough to play, although he rushed back to the dressing room immediately after the game and started to receive treatment.

Asked if Couture would be available to play in Game 4 on Tuesday, McLellan said: “Based on his smile in the locker room, I’m assuming he’ll be fine.”

Couture’s game-winning goal came on the power play, culminating a sequence that began as a 5-on-3 that spilled over from the third period. First, the Kings’ Robyn Regehr took a hooking penalty at 19:18. Moments after that, Los Angeles had a short-handed rush but the play was broken up and Trevor Lewis bulled over Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi for goaltender interference at 19:55.

San Jose couldn’t score with the two-man advantage, but seven seconds after Regehr came out of the box, Joe Thornton passed the puck to Patrick Marleau from the side boards, and Marleau quickly flipped it out in front for Couture, who slid it past Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick for the game-winner.

“He’s our guy up there,” Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle said. “He’s obviously a huge, huge part of our team. Guys did a great job when he was out, but he comes back and scores the game-winner with a terrific shot. That’s a pretty good shot. He’s a tremendous hockey player.”

The Sharks gave their fans some anxious moments when they failed to generate a real strong scoring chance with the two-man advantage, but the short-handed Kings simply couldn’t continue to kill off the penalties for that long.

“I thought we were a little too excited, a little too wound up, even us as coaches,” McLellan said. “We needed to calm down a little bit. It was veteran players – elite players – that we were putting on the ice. We had a plan. It almost came to fruition. But after that, they just played. They came through.”

SCHEDULE

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STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 NSH 64 41 16 7 192 155 89
2 ANA 64 40 17 7 189 177 87
3 STL 63 40 18 5 197 159 85
4 CHI 64 38 21 5 188 152 81
5 WPG 64 32 20 12 179 172 76
6 VAN 62 36 23 3 180 167 75
7 MIN 62 33 22 7 176 161 73
8 CGY 62 33 25 4 175 160 70
9 LAK 62 29 21 12 166 162 70
10 SJS 64 31 25 8 179 181 70
11 COL 63 27 25 11 167 182 65
12 DAL 63 27 26 10 196 210 64
13 ARI 63 20 36 7 138 214 47
14 EDM 63 18 35 10 143 208 46

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Pavelski 64 32 27 12 59
L. Couture 64 21 33 0 54
J. Thornton 60 12 41 -2 53
B. Burns 64 16 31 -3 47
P. Marleau 64 15 31 -16 46
T. Wingels 57 13 16 -3 29
T. Hertl 64 10 15 -1 25
J. Braun 53 1 19 3 20
M. Vlasic 59 7 12 11 19
M. Nieto 54 4 13 -10 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Niemi 24 17 7 .912 2.62
A. Stalock 6 7 1 .904 2.66
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