Highlights: Sharks go to third consecutive shootout vs. Coyotes
Logan Couture's last even-strength goal came against Calgary on Nov. 12. (USATSI)
PHOENIX -- Logan Couture is still struggling mightily to find the back of the net.
On Friday in Phoenix, the Sharks center failed to score for the 11th straight game, does not have a point in his last seven, and has just two goals in his last 20 games overall. One of those markers was into an empty net on Dec. 3, and the other came shorthanded on Nov. 30. In order to find Couture’s last even-strength goal, you have to go all the way back to a game against Calgary on Nov. 12.
The 24-year-old talked after the Sharks’ 4-3 shootout win over the Coyotes.
“Once again, the same old story,” Couture said. “Had a lot of good looks, missed the net on a lot of good looks. [Mike Smith] made some good saves on me. That’s the way it goes.
“Goal-scorers go through stretches were everything goes in, and then nothing goes in. Hopefully, I can get one soon, because it’s not fun not scoring.”
Couture is right in that he had his chances, which have not been in short supply during his slump. In the second period, he missed the net on a one-timer from the circle. Later that same period, he was stopped by Smith on the doorstep about seven minutes into the final frame. Couture finished with three shots on goal and another four that missed the net.
Over the last 20 games, Couture has 78 shots on goal, for an average of nearly four per game. He just can’t get them to drop, despite a sit-down meeting with coach Todd McLellan before the Sharks face Colorado on Monday.
His timing for the slump isn’t ideal, either. Couture may no longer be considered a lock to make the Canadian Olympic squad, as players like Matt Duchene, Patrick Sharp, Claude Giroux and even linemate Patrick Marleau could be pushing him further down the ladder. According to NHL.com’s latest projections, Couture is barely on the team as a fourth line winger. The deadline for the roster is Jan. 7.
Still, Todd McLellan liked the way the Couture, Marleau and Tommy Wingels line played in the win over Phoenix. Couture and Marleau converted in the shootout to give the Sharks the extra point in the standings.
“Logan’s line had some good opportunities, too, so that’s a good thing. It’ll come eventually for him.”