VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- It was a long time coming for Logan Couture. The San Jose center collected the first hat trick of his career as the Sharks added to the Canucks' woes with a 4-1 victory over Vancouver on Tuesday night. The three-goal performance came in Couture's 426th NHL game. Even he was surprised it took him almost seven seasons. "It's weird," said the Guelph, Ontario, native who turned 27 on Monday. "I only had one in four years playing junior. A lot of two-goal games. I just wasn't able to find the third one. It feels nice to finally do it." Couture gave the Sharks a 2-1 lead with his first goal with 11 seconds remaining in the second period. His goal on a five-on-three power play in the third made it 3-1, and then he scored into an empty net with 16.4 seconds left. Couture's teammates made sure he stayed on the ice late in the game for the chance to score the final goal. "There was about 1:20 left," he said. "I was going to the bench and everyone was telling me to stay on the ice. "I was going to be out there for the rest of the game regardless of what happened. They were looking for me. It was nice of those guys to look for me and give me a chance." Couture has been limited to 47 games this year due to injury. He missed 23 games with a fractured fibula at the ankle, returned for two, and then missed seven more after having surgery to repair a small arterial bleed in his right leg. The Sharks were 14-15-1 in the games Couture sat out. They are 29-13-5 with him in on the ice. "We're a different team with him in the lineup," San Jose coach Peter DeBoer said. "We missed him." Joe Pavelski, who had a goal and an assist for the Sharks, said Couture brings depth. "It adds that scoring punch, that dangerousness where you can gain some momentum from whatever line he's one," Pavelski said. "It's good to see tonight he was rewarded for his hard work and some of the chances he's been getting." Couture has 11 goals and 19 assists in 47 games this year, but he had gone 10 games without a goal. "It's been tough scoring goals for me this year," he said. "I don't think I am at the number where I thought I would be. "It's nice to put the puck in the net. There's no feeling like it." Brent Burns had two assists for the Sharks (43-28-6). The Sharks won for the second consecutive night after securing a playoff spot Monday night with a 5-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. Pavelski said goaltender James Reimer made some big saves in the first period when the Sharks were outshot 13-7. "I don't think we had a great first period," said Pavelski, who scored his team-leading 37th goal. "Reimer played spectacular and made some great saves and let us get our game to where it needed to be." Chris Higgins scored a short-handed goal for the Canucks, who lost their ninth consecutive game. Vancouver (27-36-13) it 0-8-1 on its current losing streak. During that stretch, the Canucks were shut out four times in five games and outscored 29-8. They are tied with the Toronto Maple Leaf and Edmonton Oilers for the fewest points in the NHL. Canucks captain Henrik Sedin saw some positives in the loss. "I think we're more structured, we're playing within the system, and that's when we can start talking about execution," he said. "We're missing a few passes. We're not making the passes on the tape." Jannik Hansen said the Canucks play well for stretches but can't string an entire game together. "That's the whole year," he said. "We found ways to lose games in the third period. "We haven't come from behind very other either, and that's way we're out of it." Vancouver goaltender Jacob Markstrom stopped 27 shots, while Reimer made 23 saves for the Sharks. NOTES: Canucks D Nikita Tryamkin was a late scratch after blocking a shot during the morning skate. ... RW Linden Vey sat out with an upper-body injury. ... C Markus Granlund returned to the Canucks' lineup after missing seven games with an upper-body injury. ... Vancouver coach Willie Desjardins said D Luca Sbisa could be done for the season with a shoulder injury. ... The Canucks' longest losing streak was 10 games, set in 1997-98. ... Vancouver has dressed 12 players 23 years old or younger this season. ... The Canucks and Sharks meet again Thursday in San Jose. ... C Nick Spaling returned to the Sharks' lineup after being a healthy scratch Monday. ... San Jose RW Joel Ward was a healthy scratch. ... This is the fourth consecutive season C Joe Pavelski scored 30 or more goals and added 30 or more assists. ... G Martin Jones is the fifth goaltender in Sharks history to win 30 or more games in a season.
Couture's first hat trick powers Sharks past Canucks
The Sports Xchange | Mar 30