Sharks stomp to 5-3 win over the Blues as Pavelski registers a two goal hat trick

Funny thing about hats-- once they leave your head, it's hard to get them back.

Take for example the situation FTF reader stufflife witnessed at HP Pavilion. After Pavelski scored what those in attendance believed to be his third goal of the game, and the hats began to come pouring down to the ice, a young kid threw his hat in jubiliation only to have it snagged by a woman who was evidently looking for something to keep her hair dry on the way out to the car.

"Saw a kid in front of me throw his hat, which was caught by a young lady further down. She kept it," stufflife said over Twitter. "How can people be so unscrupulous?"

As it turns out, maybe she had some inside knowledge the rest of us didn't.

San Jose's second goal of the game, which was initially credited to Patrick Marleau, got overturned during the first intermission when replays seemed to indicate Joe Pavelski had re-directed the puck past Jaroslav Halak. After scoring again three minutes later, Pavelski had a pair of goals eight minutes into the tilt and was on the prowl for his first career hat-trick. He would get it in the dying seconds of the second period when he got his stick on a Dan Boyle shot that found the twine.

Or so we thought.

Further review following the game showed that Pavelski did not get his stick on Marleau's shot in the first period, negating the hat trick and leaving Pavelski continuing to look for his first hat-trick of his career.

All of this served as a convenient distraction following the game, a way to alleviate the concerns that run through San Jose like a dinner meal at Mr. Chau's. The biggest story of the night of course is whether or not Logan Couture's injury, which he sustained in the second period at the 1:04 mark, will be as serious as it seemed from up here in the rafters.

"You could see he was in pain. He's meant a lot to this team," Pavelski said following the game. "We hope it's nothing serious. Hopefully he doesn't even miss a day. If it is (serious), hopefully he's back before crunch time gets going."

Crashing into the boards at an awkward angle, Couture remained prone on the ice for a matter of minutes as the training staff crowded around him. He had to be helped off the ice by teammates Ben Eager and Ryane Clowe and did not return to action.

Initially the worst was expected-- unable to put any weight on his leg, Couture was clearly grimacing as he bit into his jersey and gingerly made his exit to the locker room through the benches. However, following the game, Brodie Brazil reported that he was able to leave the arena under his own power and Couture stated "it isn't as bad as it first felt or looked" and he hopes to be back soon.

It's unlikely any type of solid time frame will emerge in the coming days, as the NHL's injury policy makes it clear that organizations do not have to disseminate information on any injury endured by any of their players. Trent Yawney, who served as Head Coach tonight in lieu of Todd McLellan's absence, indicated as much following the game.

"Logan's situation is lower body and day to day," Yawney said.

Losing Couture for any extended period of time at this juncture in the season is obviously detrimental to the team-- with the Sharks in the midst of a tough nine game stretch against Calgary and the Pacific Division to round out the season, establishing chemistry and making minor tweaks to gameplans is instrumental in setting the team up for an extended playoff run. However, there's no doubt Couture's health is of primary importance here-- keeping him out of action for a couple games in order to be fully prepared for the postseason, and making sure that no threat of re-aggravation is present, takes precedence over any type of chemistry that can be built over these next nine games.

It goes without saying how big of a factor Couture will be in April for San Jose. His ability to effectively center a second line, or play in the top six on the wing, allows the Sharks to place Joe Pavelski on the third line and provide the necessary depth to make each shift a dangerous one for opposing teams. Without Couture the lineup becomes decidedly thinner, takes a key forward out of the picture, and makes the Sharks offensive output (which has really come on as of late) harder to sustain. In the postseason your greatest weapon is your depth, and Couture's brilliant season to date has been felt throughout the entire lineup.

On a related note, Dan Boyle's injury scare against the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night occurred at the exact same location on the ice.

The Sharks 5-3 victory tonight was another excellent one for the team. Although the third period was a below average affair, likely caused by the four goal lead that had been amassed with ten minutes remaining, San Jose came out of the gate blazing and put St. Louis in a situation where they had to take risks all night long. Establishing an early cushion is not something the Sharks have done all too impressively this season, and considering their record after scoring/trailing first this season (San Jose is 27-6-4 when scoring the first goal of the game and 15-17-4 when giving up the first goal of the game), first period efforts like this will go a long way towards success in the long run.

With 92 points in hand, and a nearly assured playoff berth a mere four wins away, these next nine games will be an excellent way for the Sharks to gear up for an upcoming postseason run that has looked more and more promising ever since the six game losing streak in mid-January.

Staying healthy is the Sharks biggest key however. And with two big scares to in as many games this week, you start to realize just how fickle the injury bug can be.

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