Logan Couture recorded his first career hat trick to help the Sharks to a 4-1 win on Tuesday night, sweeping a tough back-to-back. San Jose scored in the first 20 seconds and final 20 seconds of the second period, providing all the offense needed to hand Vancouver its ninth-straight loss.
Couture scored that elusive third goal on an empty net after just missing the empty net moments earlier. His first career NHL hat trick came on the night he scored his 150th, 151st and 152nd goals.
James Reimer kept the Sharks in the game early as the fatigued group allowed shot after shot to find the net. The only goal the San Jose goaltender allowed was shorthanded on a rush he didn't have much chance of stopping. His 20 saves at even strength only improve what was already a sparkling save percentage.
20 seconds into the second period Joe Pavelski opened the scoring. A pass from Joe Thornton around the back of the net found its way to Brent Burn who took a booming blast against Jacob Markstrom. The rebound was then corralled by Pavelski who put San Jose up 1-0.
Not long after Jake Virtanen delivered a dirty, late hit on Roman Polak. That hit resulted in Virtanen receiving a five-minute major and a game misconduct. San Jose was unable to make Vancouver pay, though. After what can charitably be described as a feckless four minutes of power play time, Chris Higgins got in alone on James Reimer and beat him to make it 1-1.
With 11 seconds to go in the second period, Logan Couture put the Sharks up 2-1. A nice bit of perseverance from the Sharks forward got him in front of the net with the puck on his skate and he slid it to Markstrom's right for his 11th tally of the year.
He doubled the Sharks' advantage on a 5-on-3 power play with six minutes to go. Vancouver found itself in pretty poor positioning and Couture took advantage, doing his best to exorcise all of his goal-scoring demons in one night.
The win puts San Jose two points behind Anaheim, though the Ducks have a pair of games in hand.
Sharks goals (assists): Joe Pavelski (Brent Burns, Joe Thornton), Logan Couture (Nick Spaling), Logan Couture (Joe Pavelski, Patrick Marleau), Logan Couture
Fear the Fin's 3 Stars
1) Logan Couture
2) James Reimer
3) Joe Pavelski