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