Logan Couture has five goals in his past four games as he’s beginning to look like the Couture of old.
While the 2015-16 season has been a bounce back campaign for the San Jose Sharks, it’s been a real battle for forward Logan Couture.
After a career-best year in 2014-15, Couture was primed to take his game to another level after being named an alternate captain by Peter DeBoer. Unfortunately, Couture broke his leg in practice after San Jose’s third game of the season which would sideline him for two months.
Then, after returning for a back-to-back in Calgary and Edmonton, Couture missed another seven games after having an arterial bleed in his right thigh.
Finally, Couture was back in the lineup for good at the end of December as he picked up a pair of assists against the Philadelphia Flyers.
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But it hasn’t been a seamless transition for Couture who has endured his fair share of ups-and-downs in the scoring department. After scoring two goals in a 6-3 victory over St. Louis on Feb. 22, he would go seven games without finding the back of the net until scoring a pair against Edmonton on March 8.
Then, he would endure another goalless drought as he failed to score for 10-straight contests and you could see the frustration was building. The one saving grace for Couture was he was getting plenty of quality looks and chances, they just weren’t going in. He was snake bit and needed a break through to get him back in his normal groove.
He might have found that break through last week when Couture scored his first-career hat trick in leading the Sharks past the Vancouver Canucks. He’s now scored five goals in his last four games including the game-winner last night against Minnesota.
The one game in which he didn’t score over that span, he had the game-winner in the shootout against Nashville as he looks more like the Couture who laced them up a season ago.
His speed appears to be returning and he is finding himself in the prime scoring areas more often than not. It couldn’t have come at a better time for team teal who will need to count on Couture to anchor that second line behind Joe Thornton.
He gives the Sharks four legitimate centers down the middle and allows DeBoer to roll his lines over, regardless of the matchup. Couture has been a solid playoff performer in years past with 18 goals and 18 assists in 56 career games.
San Jose will need that production next week as all the focus from either the Kings or Ducks will be on shutting down the trio of Thornton, Pavelski and Hertl. That will leave plenty of opportunities for Couture, and Sharks fans are hoping that his recent stretch is a precursor of what’s to come.
This season hasn’t played out the way Couture imagined, but he can put all those injury struggles behind him by elevating his teammates on a long playoff run.