Sharks' Couture a dominant Force When It Matters Most

By Patrick Hoffman

The San Jose Sharks have a lot of offensive talent.

When you have guys like Joe Pavelski, Evander Kane, Joe Thornton, Tomas Hertl, Brent Burns, Erik Karlsson, Timo Meier, and Logan Couture, you know the team is going to score a lot of goals. How can a team not when they have players like that?

With that said, when it comes to talking about who the team's best offensive player is, especially in big moments, there is one player that does not get the attention that he deserves. If you haven't figured it by now, it's Couture.

As of this writing (May 14), Couture leads the team in scoring in this year's playoffs with 19 points on 13 goals and 6 assists. Those numbers put him atop the leaderboard in terms of scoring in these playoffs.

Simply put, Couture becomes a goal-scoring machine in the playoffs. He currently (May 14) has 47 career playoff goals, 29 of which have come in the last four postseasons.

Couture turns into a different kind of player in the playoffs. Sure, he still puts up solid goal-scoring numbers in the regular season, but for whatever reason, he is able to put the puck in the net with more regularity at the most important time of the year.

For starters, it seems like he becomes faster. Yes, Couture has always been a great skater, but in the playoffs, his skating reaches another level as he is able to blow by defenders with the puck.

Speaking of blowing by defenders, he goes even harder towards the goal. When he has the puck in the offensive zone, it's like he has tunnel vision and all he sees is the opposing netminder and the net.

As a result, he is not afraid to take the puck to the goal. There could be several players in front of him, but he will not let anything stand in his way if it means putting the puck in the net for his hockey club.

Couture's teammates are noticing what kind of outstanding performer he is in the playoffs. In an article in The Athletic (subscription required)team captain Joe Pavelski told the following to writer Daniel Brown:

“He’s been playing phenomenal,’’ Pavelski said Monday. “(You) just can see the commitment and the passion. He wants to win. We need a little bit more of that from everybody, I think.”

Lastly, Couture is not only a leader on the ice in the postseason, but he's one in the locker room as well. For example, following his club's 4-2 loss to the St. Louis Blues in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals on Monday, May 13, he spoke like a captain would to reporters.

“I don’t think we’ve been up to our capabilities for a while now,’’ Couture said. “We did just enough to beat the Avalanche, but we haven’t played our best hockey since that Vegas series.

“It’s discouraging and it’s frustrating, because we’re going to need everyone here if we’re going to beat these guys.” 

 No matter what happens in the rest of this year's playoffs, Couture will be doing everything he can to help get his team their first Cup in franchise history.

Patrick covers the NHL for The Ultimate Hockey Fan Cave. 

He has previously covered the league for WTP SportsSportsnet.caKukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, NHL Network Radio blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.

For comments and hip checks, feel free to contact Patrick at patrickhoffman3530@gmail.com or on Twitter at @pathoffman35.