Couture survives injury scare

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Couture survives injury scare

VANCOUVER For a moment, it appeared that disaster had struck the San Jose Sharks.

When Logan Couture blocked a Keith Ballard wrist shot in the first period with his knee, the 22-year-old sniper was having trouble putting any weight on his right side. He struggled to make it to the bench, and was eventually helped to the locker room.

It didnt look good.

The organization breathed a sigh of relief when Coutures absence was just temporary, though, as he returned just a few minutes later.

It wasnt even a hard shot. It just got me in a tough spot, said Couture, after the game. It went numb for a minute and a half or two minutes, and I was fine. Just a stinger.

I tried to get up and went in a circle because I couldnt put any weight on my other leg. As soon as I got into the dressing room and sat down, the feeling came back and I felt fine.

Chances are the Sharks fans watching at home were more concerned than Todd McLellan. At least, thats the picture the coach painted after the game.

We knew it was a blocked shot. When a guy ends up getting twisted up or tangled with somebody you dont know if its a knee or an ankle or anything like that, but we knew it was a blocked shot, McLellan said. Usually that gets you in a bad spot, and you can come back and play.

Hes a very, very important guy on our team and we were glad he could make it back.

Important is an understatement. Couture has eight points in his last eight games, including an assist on Monday in Vancouver, and leads the team with 16 goals. Hes been the teams most consistent forward since the middle of October, and he may be the Sharks most indispensable player.

Coutures block was one of 24 on the night for San Jose, as opposed to just seven for the Canucks.

Youve got to block shots. Everybodys doing it, he said. You have to make it tough for pucks to get through to the goalie, and thats something weve gotten better at is helping Antti Niemi out.

Couture was seen in the locker room with an ice pack on the knee after the game, but the win over the team that eliminated the Sharks from the Stanley Cup playoffs last spring helped to dull the pain.

It feels great, actually, Couture said. Its just a little swollen. It will be fine tomorrow.

Instant Replay: Sharks allow six to Stars, losing streak now at five

Instant Replay: Sharks allow six to Stars, losing streak now at five

BOX SCORE

DALLAS – Entering the game with their longest regulation losing streak of the season, and playing against what should have been a tired opponent that is already out of playoff contention, the Sharks were obliterated by the Stars on Friday at American Airlines Center, 6-1.
 
From the drop of the puck, the Sharks looked like they had no interest in competing against a Dallas team that had played in Chicago on Thursday night, and had already beaten San Jose earlier in the week.

The loss stretched the Sharks’ losing streak to five, and it is the longest in more than six years when they dropped six in a row from Jan. 3-13, 2011. After enjoying a nine-point lead on the rest of the Pacific Division on March 14, the Ducks can tie San Jose in points with a win over Winnipeg later on Friday.
 
Adam Cracknell, who paced the Dallas offense with a hat trick, opened the scoring with his first of three goals. He drove the puck to the net while fighting off Brenden Dillon, and Micheal Haley inadvertently kicked the loose puck through Aaron Dell at 8:30 of the first period.
 
Prior to that score, it took the Sharks more than seven minutes to register their first shot.
 
San Jose escaped down just 1-0 at the first intermission, but it quickly got worse. Brett Ritchie was left open by Dillon and whipped in a pass from Tyler Seguin at 1:58, and then Dallas’ third goal really set off coach Pete DeBoer.
 
Joe Pavelski lost a defensive zone draw, and Brent Burns inexplicably vacated the front of the net, where Jamie Benn was wide open. Benn had all kinds of time to freeze Aaron Dell and slip through his 25th goal at 5:19.
 
DeBoer called timeout at that point, and was as visibly upset at his bench as he has been in his two seasons as head coach, barking away at the stunned Sharks skaters.
 
It didn’t help. Cracknell made it 4-0 off of a rush less than two minutes after the timeout, and although Joe Thornton got one back on the power play, the Stars scored two more times in the third period. 
 
Dell misplayed a puck on a Sharks power play, sliding it right to Cracknell for a breakaway in which he finished off a hat trick at 4:59. Just 21 seconds later, John Klingberg converted a two-on-one with Jason Spezza – who had three assists on the night – to make it a 6-1 Dallas lead.
 
The five-game winless streak is their worst since they went 0-6-1 from Dec. 1-12 last season.
 
San Jose has just five goals in its last five games.
 
The Sharks had Jannik Hansen back for the game, after the recent addition had missed the last two games with a head injury. Marc-Edouard Vlasic, though, was not able to finish the game, for reasons that were not immediately clear.
 
Special teams 
 
Thornton’s goal was his first on the power play all season, as the Sharks went 1-for-2. Dallas was 0-for-2.
 
Cracknell’s shorthanded goal was the fourth the Sharks have allowed this season.
 
In goal
 
Dell suffered his worst game of the season, and his NHL career, allowing six goals on 29 shots. He played all three games against Dallas, stopping 48 of 50 shots in the first two.
 
Kari Lehtonen, who shut out the Sharks with 30 saves on Monday in a 1-0 win, made 20 saves on Friday. He has played in 10 straight games.
 
Lineup
 
Timo Meier came out of the lineup for Hansen, while Danny O’Regan was reassigned to the Barracuda earlier in the day.
 
Burns snapped out of his seven-game scoreless streak with an assist on Thornton’s goal, but still has no goals in his last 15 games.
 
Dallas’ Tyler Seguin was skating in his 500th career NHL game.
 
Up next
 
The Sharks conclude their road trip Saturday in Nashville, their only appearance there in the regular season. In the first two games of the season series in San Jose, the Sharks won on Oct. 29, 4-1, but dropped a 3-1 decision on March 11.

Sharks sign prospect Noah Rod, an 'agitator who can score'

Sharks sign prospect Noah Rod, an 'agitator who can score'

The Sharks have signed prospect forward Noah Rod to a standard three-year entry-level contract, the club announced on Friday. The Sharks drafted Rod (pronounced like road) in the second round (53rd overall) of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.

The 20-year-old has five goals, nine assists and 22 penalty minutes with a plus-five rating in 27 games with Geneve-Servette in Switzerland. In 137 career games in the Swiss league from 2013-17, Rod has 37 points (14g, 23a) and 64 penalty minutes. The native of La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland has represented his country in each of the last two World Junior tournaments, playing with fellow Sharks prospects Timo Meier and Mirco Mueller.

He is expected to join the AHL Barracuda shortly, once the immigration paperwork goes through.

"Noah plays with a tenacious, feisty edge which makes him a difficult player for opponents to play against," general manager Doug Wilson said in a statement. "He has continued to grow his overall game the past few seasons, playing against men in Switzerland's top professional league, and we think his combination of grit and skill will translate well in North America. We are excited for him to make the move."

In February, Sharks director of hockey operations Doug Wilson, Jr. told The Hockey News that the six-foot, 200-pound Rod has “taken huge strides this year” and was hopeful that he would join the organization by the end of this season.

Wilson, Jr. said: “[Rod] was a 17-year-old shut down guy in a men’s league, that’s crazy. He’s taken huge leaps. They’ve got him playing top six minutes, and he’s producing as an offensive guy now. 

“He’s one of those guys, he would fit perfect in Pete [DeBoer’s] system – pressure all over the ice, agitator who can score. He fits really well for us. We’re excited about him.”