Couture returns from injury to beat LA in overtime

Thearon W. Henderson

After getting shaken up and leaving the game in the middle of the second period, Logan Couture returns and scores the game winning goal in overtime as the Sharks defeat the Los Angeles Kings 2-1.

I love hearing HP Pavilion during the playoffs. You could tell immediately how pumped the fans were before game 3 against the Los Angeles Kings, and it seemed to translate to the Sharks early on. Before the fans could even get settled in, the Sharks gave them a reason to stand right back up.

In a hilarious turn of events, Jake Muzzin shot the puck out of play for a delay of game penalty 90 seconds in. And about 3 seconds after that, Dan Boyle scored off the faceoff. 1-0 Sharks – Boyle from Marleau and Pavelski at 1:34 of the first period. You can’t overlook the play of Joe Thornton screening in front of the net on that play. Great play set up by the entire team.

Later in the first, Jeff Carter gets called for a trip at 7:52. Although it was a strong powerplay, the Kings did kill it off. Soon after, Tyler Toffoli picked off an errant pass by Brad Stuart in the defensive zone. 1-1 tie – Toffoli from Stuart unassisted at 10:08 of the first period. That’s a play Stuart should not make. Hopefully Jason Demers can return soon to give that pair a legitimate puck mover for the sake of the breakout.

Another great chance for Boyle about 15 minutes in with the Thornton line out there. After a faceoff, Joe Thornton had a chance at the side of the net, but put it off the side of the cage. Good to see Todd McLellan expoiting the Thornton-Richards match-up. Jumbo’s been getting the better of him in this series. As we mentioned on Twitter, the Sharks outshot the Kings 7-1 in the first period on that matchup.

Late in the first, there was a HUGE hit along the boards by Brad Stuart on Justin Williams. It was a beautiful, clean hit by Stuart. Insert suspension joke here. Also, INSERT THE .GIF!!!

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Very early in the second period, Scott Hannan was shaken up as he slid to the ice to try to block a shot. He would get checked out in the dressing room. He would return later in the period. But injuries were the story of the middle frame. After Hannan left, Havlat went missing from the bench as well, and Logan Couture appeared to get injured as well. If Logan missed any number of games, this series would be over. Luckily, Couture would return by the end of the period.

Frustration did start showing on Marc-Edouard Vlasic as he took a roughing penalty for a couple slashes, and about five crosscheks to Dustin Brown into boards. The Sharks were able to kill the penalty, thus making it pretty hilarious. Pickles is such a goon.

The Sharks temporary line of Marleau, Pavelski and Desjardins combined for a phenomenal chance that Quick was somehow able to stop. In a related story, Jonathan Quick is wanted in about a dozen states and a few provinces for highway robbery.

Despite the makeshift lineups, you can’t say the Sharks didn’t hold their own. In fact, they probably outplayed the Kings in the second period. They outshot Los Angeles 14-7, and seemed to limit the Kings chances while getting a few mad scrambles in front of Quick.

Joe Thornton nearly started the third period with a wraparound off a bad Kings turnover, but he couldn’t put it past Quick. The Sharks did get quite a few pucks to the net early, while the Kings only seemed able to tie up the Sharks along the boards when the puck was in the San Jose zone.

After about five minutes of play, the Kings did start getting into a rhythm. Dustin Penner, in particular had a very strong chance, but was robbed by Antti Niemi. While Niemi hasn’t been as frustrating to opposing players as Quick has been in this series, he has been very solid in net.

San Jose had a huge opportunity late as Dustin Brown gets called for a slash on Joe Pavelski with just 5:16 left in regulation. Unfortunately, they could not convert, and it would remain 1-1. In the final minute, as Gomez was behind the net and trying to feed a crashing Tommy Wingels. Wingels is able to draw a key penalty as Robyn Regehr goes to the box for hooking. Only 41.7 seconds left as the Sharks take over on the man advantage.

Couture gets a couple shots from the point, but LA was able to come down on a two on one. With Marleau and Trevor Lewis barreling into Niemi, Mike Richards has the puck in the slot, but the shot is blocked and Lewis gets called for goaltender interference! The last few seconds tick off the clock for regulation, but the Sharks will start overtime with a 5-on-3 for the first 1:19.

After a clear to start the period, the Sharks get set up in the offensive zone. San Jose took their time and got a good rebound chance, but the Kings cleared it out. One penalty ends as a shot bounces off a player in front. Logan Couture is there, and he roofs it over Quick! 2-1 Sharks – Couture from Marleau and Thornton at 1:28 of the overtime period.

SHARKS WIN!

-Martin Havlat returned for this game, as many speculated he would. He found himself on a line with Scott Gomez and Tommy Wingels. That line would change when Havlat left the game, with James Sheppard and Bracken Kearns taking his spot.

-Scott Gomez would get in a bit of a scrap with Mike Richards in the last 30 seconds of the second. Normally, I’d take that trade off, but with the way Thornton dominated him, I want to keep Richards out there as much as possible.

-The beards of Joe Thornton and Brent Burns are glorious. That is all.

-By the way, just so I can comment: What the fuck, NHL? $100,000 fine for this? If you thought the way Doug Wilson responded was inappropriate, I'd like to introduce you to Megalodon from Battle of California.

FTF 3 Stars

1st Star: Logan Couture

2nd Star: Jonathan Quick

3rd Star: Dan Boyle

The Sharks now have a few days off to rest and heal before game 4 on Tuesday. They'll need it. But they'll have the chance to tie up the series at home, and you have to be happy with that. Go Sharks!

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