The San Jose Sharks headed into Saturday night’s home game against Arizona Coyotes having first needing to shake off memories of Thursday night’s wild 6-5 shootout loss to the Calgary Flames. And while the start of the game and goaltender Alex Stalock’s performance might want to be quickly forgotten, the Sharks and their fans have to love what they’re seeing from center Logan Couture.
Couture was arguably the best Shark on the ice as they attempted to come back from a 4-1 deficit, and behind his two-way play, the Sharks escaped with a critical point. For the game, Couture had a goal on eight shots, and very nearly had two others down the stretch. He completed his four-point game with three assists, and for the game had a Corsi-for percentage of 84.9.
— NHL (@NHL) February 12, 2016
Couture wasn’t just attracting the attention of Sharks’ fans, either. He suffered a nasty bruise to his left ankle courtesy of a two-handed chop from the Flames’ Deryk Engelland, and that was after taking a butt-end of a stick to the mouth from old nemesis Mark Giordano.
The small injuries suffered by Couture might hurt a bit, but it won’t limit him on the ice like his two early-season injuries. In the season’s first week, Couture fractured his right fibula during a practice and his surgery and rehabilitation caused him to miss almost two month.
After coming back from his fracture, Couture suffered an injury that caused an arterial bleed that took him off the ice for another three weeks.
Since his return though, Couture has provided a spark to the Sharks, most frequently playing on the third line and providing the Sharks depth in the forward lines at both ends of the ice.
In 23 games this season, Couture has 5 goals and 17 total points, and has posted a plus-four, all the while building up his average ice time to just under 17 minutes a game. As the Sharks make a springtime push to make the playoffs – they head into Saturday night’s game in second place in the Pacific Division – Coach Peter DeBoer will increase his dependence on Couture, not just centering the third line, but contributing on both special teams as well.
If Couture can continue to dazzle playing within the Sharks system, the team will factor into the playoff race right to the very end. And, while his injuries have most likely ruled him out of this summers World Cup of Hockey, the real prize in Couture’s eyes is surely a Stanley Cup.
Photo Credit: Don Smith/Getty Images
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