Couture sets record in Sharks' 2-0 win over Caps


Couture sets record in Sharks' 2-0 win over Caps


Kevin Kurz

WASHINGTON Just when it seems like theres nothing more that can be said about Sharks rookie Logan Couture, he goes and does something eye-opening again.This time, it was his seemingly harmless wrist shot from the boards that broke a scoreless tie in helping San Jose to a 2-0 win over the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center on Tuesday night. The victory stretches San Joses unbeaten-in-regulation streak to 8-0-1, and is the third win in as many games on the teams current road trip.Coutures eighth game-winning goal at 11:55 of the third period was the biggest play of the game.Hes very opportunistic. Some guys are just pure goal scorers, and hes got that, said Dan Boyle, who added an insurance marker for the Sharks a little more than two minutes after Coutures tally. Some of the goals you might do a double-take as to how the puck went in, but it finds a way. Hes just a natural goal scorer.Its getting to the point where you dont want to call him a rookie anymore because he plays big minutes and is scoring huge goals, said coach Todd McLellan.
VIDEO: Todd McLellan postgame
Truth be told, the shot was one that probably should have been stopped by Capitals goaltender Michal Neuvirth. Couture explained how he thought the tough-angle shot found the back of the net.I was going down on a tough angle and didnt see Kyle Wellwood, so I just fired it, he said. I think Neuvirth was thinking pass, because he didnt get down quick enough and it went through his five-hole.Couture certainly wasnt alone in contributing to the win. The Sharks played yet another defensively responsible game, and when there was the rare breakdown, goaltender Antti Niemi was there to make the save. The goaltender recorded his second straight shutout and fourth of the season by making 25 saves.Its been more than 134 minutes since Niemi and the Sharks have allowed a goal, in the third period of last Wednesdays game in Anaheim.Hes smothering pucks, and our D is doing a good job letting him see pucks, said Joe Thornton. Hes in a groove right now, so well keep riding him.Just as he did on Saturday in Boston, Niemi credited a strong presence in front of him in helping to keep the opposition scoring chances to a minimum.We kept doing what we did in Boston, blocking shots and being really tight in at the net, he said.It helped a little bit that the hockey gods were on the Sharks side, as well.Referee Wes McCauleys early whistle in the first period nullified a would-be goal by Washingtons Alex Semin, who was making his return to the Caps lineup after a 12-game absence with a groin injury. Semins shot from the circle hit Niemi, but trickled between the goalies pads and eventually off of his skate and in. McCauley, standing behind the net, thought the puck was frozen and blew it dead.It should have counted.It didnt go straight through; it was going really slow. I dont know how it happened, but of course after that situation you feel a little bit lucky, admitted Niemi.The Sharks outshot the Capitals 15-9 in the first period, but Washington had the better of the scoring chances. The second period was a little bit more buttoned-up than the wide open first, but the teams were still unable to find the back of the net. Washingtons David Steckel had the best chance late in the second, after a bad turnover by Jason Demers at the Sharks defensive blue line with just over a minute remaining. Steckel raced in on a breakaway, but was unable to get a handle on the puck after trying to deke Niemi.Other than the Demers turnover, though, the Sharks defense was nearly flawless. It was a total team effort, according to McLellan.Twenty players dressed, and 20 players contributed, he said. We had great contributions from the third and fourth lines and all six defensemen found a way to have strong nights.Still, the focal point after the game was Couture, who overtook Alex Ovechkin for the league-lead in game-winning goals despite being not all that noticeable through the first two periods.He just competes so hard every night, and to be a 21-year-old kid and so composed and so complete as a hockey player is very, very impressive.San Jose has an opportunity now in its next three games to keep moving up the standings, and currently trails Dallas by just one point for the Pacific Division lead with 64. The Sharks visit Columbus on Wednesday, New Jersey on Friday and Florida on Sunday all teams that are all out of playoff position.After ending the road trip in Nashville on Feb. 15, the Sharks will host these same Capitals in their first home game back on the West Coast on Feb. 17.Until then, the aim is to keep the current streak alive.As good as things are, I dont think you see anyone too excited here, said Boyle. Weve got a lot of work ahead of us. Even with the streak were on, were still right in the middle of everything.

Instant Replay: Sharks' streak snapped by Sens in final minute

Instant Replay: Sharks' streak snapped by Sens in final minute


SAN JOSE – Chris Kelly scored with a little more than a minute left in regulation, pushing the Senators to a 4-2 win over the Sharks at SAP Center on Wednesday night.

On the deciding goal, Justin Braun misplayed a puck at the defensive blue line, and Kelly raced ahead on a partial breakaway before chipping it through Martin Jones at 18:54.

San Jose outshot Ottawa 37-17 for the game, and out-attempted the Senators 78-36, but lost for just the second time in their last eight games (6-2-0).

Ottawa won its fifth straight against San Jose, improving to 1-1 on its four game road trip.

Despite a lopsided advantage in shots and shot attempts throughout the night, the Sharks trailed 2-1 to start the third period. Brent Burns got the equalizer in a four-on-four situation, though, ripping a wrist shot from the top of the circle through Mike Condon at 6:30.

The Sharks had the better of the scoring chances in the first period, but it was Ottawa that claimed a 2-0 lead after the opening stanza.

Mark Stone’s power play goal at 3:42 opened the scoring. A shot by Mike Hoffman deflected off of the skates of Paul Martin and then Burns before Stone found it in front of the net.

Three-and-a-half minutes later Erik Karlsson made it 2-0, wiring a wrist shot through Jones after the Sharks were caught running around in their own end. Jones appeared to be screened by Tom Pyatt on the goal at 7:19.

Condon made some clutch saves later in the period, including a pair on Joe Pavelski, who was denied on a Sharks power play with 4:30 to go and then again at even strength with 1:52 remaining before the break. Pavelski was around the net all night, finding the post on a breakaway in the second period and getting robbed by Condon’s glove early in the third.

The Sharks kept pressuring the Senators in the middle frame, finally breaking through on the power play. A laser from Couture at 8:19 cleanly beat the Ottawa goalie for his seventh goal in the last 10 games.

Couture was playing despite minor surgery on Saturday, when he had a screw from a previous operation that had been bothering him removed from his right ankle.

Jean-Gabriel Pageau had an empty net goal to cap the scoring.

Special teams

The Sharks finished 1-for-6 on the power play, and are 6-for-25 over their last eight games. They generated 11 power play shots against the Senators in more than 10 minutes of power play time.

San Jose surrendered a power play goal against for the fifth time in the last six games, going 9-for-14 over that span. They came through late in the third with 3:58 to go in regulation when Patrick Marleau was issued an interference minor.

In goal

Jones was making his first start against Ottawa as a member of the Sharks, as Alex Stalock played both games last season. He took the loss with three goals allowed on just 16 shots.

Condon improved to 4-1-1 on the year with 35 saves.


David Schlemko did not play due to injury, and is day-to-day. Dylan DeMelo played in his third game of the season, all coming within the last two weeks.

Ottawa’s Bobby Ryan returned after missing the previous three games with a finger injury. Goalie Craig Anderson was not with the club for personal reasons, as his wife is battling cancer.

Up next

The Sharks will visit Anaheim for the first time this season on Friday. The Sharks are 1-1 against the Ducks this season, both at SAP Center.

San Jose hosts the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday for its second game in as many nights.

Instant Replay: Warriors in control from start to finish, beat Clippers

Instant Replay: Warriors in control from start to finish, beat Clippers


LOS ANGELES – Shredding the league’s top-rated defense, the Warriors sprinted ahead of the Clippers early and raced to a 115-98 victory before a bipartisan sellout crowd Wednesday night at Staples Center.

Five Warriors scored in double figures, led by 24 points from Klay Thompson, as they defeated Los Angeles for the seventh consecutive time, dating back to March 2015.

Draymond Green scored 22 points, Stephen Curry 19, Kevin Durant 16 and Andre Iguodala 10 as the Warriors (19-3) emphasized ball movement and crisp passing to shoot 48 percent from the field, posting 32 assists on 42 field goals.

Curry consistently disrupted LA’s attempts to create rhythm on offense, as he nabbed seven steals, tying a career-high and also posting the individual high for the NBA this season.

Veteran guard Jamal Crawford scored 21 points to lead the Clippers (16-7), who lost for the fifth time in seven games.


Green provided his usual buoyant energy and dirty work but also turned in a highly efficient scoring night, resulting in a season-high.

Green’s line: 22 points (8-of-10 from the field, including 3-of-5 from beyond the arc, 3-of-4 from the free throw line), five rebounds, four assists and two steals. He played 32 minutes was plus-25.


After a DeAndre Jordan dunk gave LA a 10-9 lead with 6:58 left in the first quarter, the Warriors responded with an 18-3 run to go up 27-13 with 2:38 left in the quarter.

The Clippers got no closer than seven (53-46, 2:21 left in the second quarter) after that, as the Warriors led by 13 at the half and by 16 after three quarters.


Warriors: No injuries listed. C Anderson Varejao was a healthy inactive.

Clippers: G Raymond Felton (family matter) was declared out prior to tipoff. Clippers: F Brice Johnson (lower back herniated disc) is listed as out.


Warriors C Damian Jones is on assignment with Santa Cruz of the D-League.


The Warriors left LA immediately after the game, bound for Utah, where on Thursday night they will play the Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City. Tipoff is scheduled for 6:05 Pacific.