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Couture's hat trick powers Sharks
Canucks drop 9th straight game
3/29/15 - By Mike Lee -

A day after clinching a playoff birth, the Sharks had to overcome the fatigue of back-to-back games and the emotional let down after such a big win. Luckily they got to do it against the lottery bound Vancouver Canucks who haven't won a game in 9 straight tries. San Jose shook off a sluggish start to beat the Canucks 4-1, powered by Logan Couture's first career hat trick.

Couture's season has exactly been of the fairy tale variety. After suffering a broken leg at the beginning of the season, Couture faced surgery to address a clotting issue in his thigh. The goals haven't been coming in bushels for the Sharks forward, so a three goal performance was a nice way to help close out the regular season.

Couture and his teammates struggled in the opening 20 minutes, dragging their feet against a Canucks team that was motivated to snap their horrific losing streak and that had the home ice advantage. Getting San Jose on the back end of back-to-back games should have made this a cake walk for the Canucks, but give the Sharks credit.

They battled the injury depleted Canucks team, getting through the 1st period, then landing a body blow in the opening moments of the 2nd period. Joe Pavelski put back a rebound off Jacob Markstrom after Brent Burns bounced a shot off the Canucks goaltender with a shot from the right point.

San Jose was poised to add to their lead after Jake Virtanen was issued a major penalty for interference for leveling Roman Polak with a nasty blindside hit in retaliation for the Sharks defenseman knocking his stick out of his hands earlier in the sequence.

The Sharks misfired on the 5-minute penalty, then committed a major gaff when they allowed Chris Higgins to carry the puck up the left wing and snap a shot over James Reimer's left shoulder for the short-handed tally.

Couture started his big run with 11 seconds left in the period, sweeping home a pin-balling puck from the top of the crease. Nick Spaling helped with the goal, kicking it to his linemate as the puck seemed to bounce off of everyone's stick.

Vancouver got into penalty trouble in the 3rd period when Matt Bartkowski and Markus Grandlund took separate infractions 17 seconds apart. Couture made them pay with a shot from the slot after Pavelski made a feed from behind the Canucks net. Vancouver was guilty of overloading one side of the ice when the Sharks moved the puck to the right corner. It allowed Couture to camp out in front of the net with no defender within 15 feet of him.

The Canucks pulled Markstrom with 1:40 to play in regulation, which allowed the Sharks to try and setup Couture's hat trick. The centerman had a chance from distance, but his shot missed the right post by a hair.

Burns setup Couture with 16 seconds left in regulation, feeding the puck for an easy 25 foot deposit.





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Scoring
1 2 3 T
SJ 0 2 2 4
VAN 0 1 0 1
1st period - None.
2nd period - 1, SJ, Pavelski 37 (Burns, Thornton), 0:20. 2, VAN, Higgins 3 (Hutton), 6:21, (sh). 3, SJ, Couture 11 (Spaling), 19:49.
3rd period - 4, SJ, Couture 12 (Pavelski, Marleau), 14:01, (pp). 5, SJ, Couture 13 (Burns, Zubrus), 19:44, (en).
Penalties
1st period - Polak, SJ (interference), 6:45; Haley, SJ (fighting major), 15:12; Pedan, VAN (fighting major), 15:12.
2nd period - Virtanen, VAN (interference - major), 2:01; Virtanen, VAN (game misconduct), 2:01.
3rd period - Braun, SJ (hooking), 0:46; Bartkowski, VAN (high sticking), 13:00; Granlund, VAN (goaltender interference), 13:17; D. Sedin, VAN (boarding), 15:31.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
SJ - Reimer 22 21
VAN - Markstrom 31 28
VAN - empty net 1 0
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 7 12 13 32
VAN 13 5 4 22
Power Play Conversion
SJ 1 of 4
VAN 0 of 2
3 Stars of the Game
Attendance
18,315
Officials
Referees: Luxmore, Sutherland. Linesmen: Galloway, Knorr.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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