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Couture Once more Steps up for Sharks in Postseason

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SAN JOSE, Calif. — Logan Couture obtained San Jose began within the opener of the Western Convention Remaining in opposition to the St. Louis Blues by ending off a 2-on-1 rush. He sealed the win with an empty-net aim, and in between, he did all the pieces else the Sharks wanted at each ends of the ice.

Simply one other typical standout efficiency from Couture, who at all times appears to be at his finest right now of yr.

Couture Shines in Sport 1 Victory

“Logan Couture, if he’s not the highest two-way centre within the league, he’s in that dialog,” coach Peter DeBoer mentioned after Couture had two objectives and one help in a 6-Three win over the Blues in Sport 1 on Saturday night time.

“Performs a 200-foot recreation, at all times on the correct facet of the puck, at all times making the correct reads. When your centre is like that, he drives the fellows round him to play an sincere recreation like that.”

Couture and linemates Timo Meier and Gustav Nyquist as soon as once more led the way in which for the Sharks, with Meier additionally having two objectives and an help, Nyquist getting two helpers and the trio combining for a plus-seven score.

San Jose Sharks’ Logan Couture leads the postseason with 11 objectives and 17 factors. (AP Photograph/Josie Lepe)

That is Couture’s time of yr. Ever since his first post-season as a rookie in 2010, he has shined on the massive stage. His 45 objectives within the playoffs since making his debut that season are second most within the NHL to Alex Ovechkin’s 50. He leads the NHL this postseason with 11 objectives and 17 factors and is one in every of six lively gamers with two postseasons with at the very least 10 objectives.

However 4 of these different gamers have gained the Stanley Cup — a aim that has eluded Couture and the Sharks regardless of making it to the Convention Finals for the fourth time in his 10 seasons.

“We haven’t gained,” he mentioned. “So I don’t care what my numbers get to be. I might go this entire playoffs and have zero factors and if we win the Stanley Cup I’ll be the happiest man on this room.”

Couture led the NHL with 30 factors within the 2016 Playoffs, when the Sharks obtained to their first Stanley Cup Remaining in franchise historical past, and he scores at a better fee within the playoffs than the common season regardless of the harder opponents and extra defensive method.

Couture has a exceptional eight game-winning objectives within the playoffs. (AP Photograph/David Zalubowski)

He has eight game-winning objectives within the playoffs and two in time beyond regulation, incomes the repute as a clutch participant.

“His largest factor is he doesn’t change his recreation it doesn’t matter what the state of affairs is,” teammate Erik Karlsson mentioned. “I believe everyone knows that these video games are extra necessary than the common season, however that doesn’t imply that the sport of hockey is altering. You continue to need to do the identical factor on the market to achieve success. He’s actually good at doing that. It doesn’t matter what occurs on the market, he doesn’t let something have an effect on him, and he’s not attempting to do issues that aren’t regular.”

Whereas the objectives and the factors get the eye from outsiders, his crew respects him most for features of his recreation that don’t at all times present up on the scoresheet.

Why Couture is Profitable

He performs in all conditions, together with the penalty kill, usually matches up in opposition to prime traces, takes faceoffs, blocks pictures and is a frontrunner within the dressing room.

“I believe Logan is the consummate ‘I’m not going to let you know, I’m going to indicate you what my dedication stage is,’” DeBoer mentioned. “He brings that each night time. … I do know everyone appears to be like on the objectives and the place he’s within the scoring and the manufacturing and what he’s introduced offensively. For me, he walks the stroll at each ends of the rink. These are the kind of guys you may win with.”

Tarasenko’s Struggles

Whereas Couture delivered for the Sharks in Sport 1, the Blues know they’ll want extra from one in every of their prime forwards in the event that they wish to advance to the Stanley Cup Remaining for the primary time since 1970.

Vladimir Tarasenko, who led the crew with 33 objectives within the common season, was as soon as once more principally a nonfactor within the Convention Remaining outdoors of an help on St Louis’ first aim. Tarasenko managed only one shot on aim and was on the ice for 4 of San Jose’s objectives.

Vladimir Tarasenko must step up his recreation for the Blues to achieve success. (AP Photograph/Invoice Boyce)

Tarasenko additionally struggled the final time the Blues made it this far within the post-season again in 2016, once they misplaced to the Sharks in six video games. He had no factors and a minus-four score within the first 5 video games earlier than lastly scoring twice within the third interval of a 5-2 loss within the clincher.

“Vladi’s started working with out the puck lots more durable and he’ll,” coach Craig Berube mentioned. “He’s obtained to get extra concerned. You’ll be able to’t simply watch for issues to occur, particularly within the playoffs. You’ve obtained to go get it and also you’ve obtained to go make it your self. It’s about working and it’s about working along with your line.”

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Extra AP NHL: https://apnews.com/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Josh Dubow, The Related Press

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