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Couture sparks Sharks win
San Jose tops Anaheim 5-3 at SAP
1/20/2024 - By Mike Lee

The Sharks got a big jolt of leadership on Saturday night with the return of captain Logan Couture and Nico Sturm. Couture has been out all season with Osteitis pubis, but his presence helped San Jose to a 5-3 win over the Anaheim Ducks at SAP Center. Sturm has been an unofficial captain for San Jose in Couture's absence, so his return also helped San Jose to snap a 3-game losing streak.

Maybe it was a coincidence but defensemen Kyle Burroughs and Jan Rutta scored their first goals as Sharks, all on the heels of Couture and Sturm's return.

Whatever the reason, the Sharks needed something to jumpstart their season. The losses have been piling up again, so anything that gets them headed in the right direction is welcome.

The Ducks dominated the shot counter in the opening period, out-shooting San Jose 13-2 in the frame. San Jose had one shot, along with a Filip Zadina goal erased when Ryan Carpenter was ruled upon challenge review to have been offside.

The two teams traded power play chances in the first half of the 2nd period. San Jose killed off a tripping infraction to Rutta, but their inability to generate any shots, much less scoring chances on an Ilya Lybushkin boarding penalty against captain Logan Couture was another disappointing display from a special teams unit that has been underachieving this season.

It would take the Sharks 9 minutes to record their first shot in the middle frame.

Logan Couture made his return felt by setting up the game's first goal with a doozy of a pass to Marc-Edouard Vlasic from the right side. Carrying the puck up the ice, the Sharks captain waited until the last possible moment to feather a pass to the front of the crease, where Vlasic got a stick blade on it, lifting it past Ducks goaltender John Gibson.

The lead lasted San Jose all of 15 seconds. Anaheim forced the issue in the Sharks zone when Jackson Lacombe put a puck on net that was headed for the left point. Multiple camera angles did not show conclusively that the puck crossed the net, but the NHL War Room ruled that it did.

Burroughs helped San Jose reclaim the lead at 15:21, when he snapped a shot past Gibson from the right side. Tomas Hertl sent a feed through the slot to Burroughs on the off wing.

San Jose pushed that lead to 3-1 when Fabian Zetterlund lifted a shot on the rush over Gibson's left shoulder with 28 seconds remaining in the period.

Typically goals in the last minute of a period are celebrated, except when you allow the opposition to counter and score one themselves with the remaining time. That's what Adam Henrique did, potting his 12th of the season with 3.8 ticks left in the frame. With Alexander Barabanov literally flailing in the Sharks goal, Troy Terry fished the puck off the end boards after a shot sailed side of the net, then slid it out to the front of the net where Henrique buried it.

Rutta gave the Sharks some much needed breathing room by scoring his 1st goal as a Shark at 12:15. The Sharks defenseman sent in a shot from the right circle, finding a seam between Gibson and the right post.

A Nico Sturm tripping penalty setup a Mason McTavish power play goal at 15:11. The Ducks centerman roofed a shot over Mackenzie Blackwood's left shoulder from the right dot.

Tomas Hertl put the game away with an empty netter in the final 6 seconds of play.

Game Notes:

* The long anticipated return of Logan Couture finally came to fruition as the Sharks captain made his season debut after missing the first 45 games due to an issue with the pubis bone.

* Couture had a rough return. He was hit from behind by Ilya Lybushkin 4 minutes into the 2nd period to draw a boarding penalty, then Radko Gudas caught the Sharks captain with a knee on knee hit in the 3rd period that resulted in some retaliation by Kyle Burroughs.

* Nico Sturm also made his return to the lineup after missing the last 16 games with a lower body injury. To make room for the roster additions, San Jose moved Ty Emberson to the injured reserve. Mikael Granlund was placed on IR immediately following the Sharks loss to Chicago on Wednesday.

* Calen Addison, Scott Sabourin and Kevin Labanc were scratched for the game.

* Former Sharks Arturs Irbe and Brad Stuart were in attendance.


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1 2 3 T
ANA 0 2 1 3
SJ 0 3 2 5
1st period - None.
2nd period - 1, SJ, Vlasic 2 (Couture), 15:04. 2, ANA, LaCombe 1 (Henrique), 15:21. 3, SJ, Burroughs 1 (Hertl), 17:33. 4, SJ, Zetterlund 13 (Carpenter), 19:30. 5, ANA, Henrique 12 (Terry, Carlsson), 19:54.
3rd period - 6, SJ, Rutta 1 (Zetterlund, Hoffman), 12:15. 7, ANA, McTavish 13 (Terry), 15:09, (pp). 8, SJ, Hertl 14 (Sturm), 19:54, (en).
1st period - Vaakanainen, ANA (interference), 3:26.
2nd period - Ruuta, SJ (tripping), 0:14; Lybushkin, ANA (boarding) 4:05.
3rd period - Gudas, ANA (roughing), 4:21; Gudas, ANA (roughing), 4:21; Burroughs, SJ (cross checking), 4:21; Burroughs, SJ (roughing), 4:21; Couture, SJ (tripping), 8:01; Sturm, SJ (tripping), 13:48.
Shots Saves
ANA - Gibson 18 14
ANA - empty net 1 0
SJ - Blackwood 35 32
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
ANA 12 8 15 35
SJ 2 5 12 19
Power Play Conversion
ANA 1 of 3
SJ 0 of 2
3 Stars of the Game
Logan Couture
Adam Henrique
Fabian Zetterlund
SAP Center - 17,435
Referees: #38 Peter MacDougall, #31 Michael Markovic. Linesmen: #89 Joe Mahon, #90 Travis Toomey.

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