After an injury-riddled regular season, Logan Couture is playing the best hockey of his career in the playoffs.
One player the San Jose Sharks could not have gotten this far without is seventh-year Shark Logan Couture.
And that’s no cliche statement – the regular season proved it to be true. In the 30 games Couture missed to a broken fibula, the Sharks were a below-.500 team with a 14-15-1 record. In the 52 games he appeared in, team teal went 32-15-5.
Even then, Couture wasn’t the player he typically is in the regular season. His 0.69 points per game was his lowest output since 2009-10, his first-year in the league when he played in only 25 contests. Still a good number from the average NHL player, yet not up to par for Couture.
However the playoffs have been a different story for the 27 year-old center.
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Couture leads the NHL in playoff points with 29 – nine goals and 20 assists. That’s the highest number of playoff points since Jonathan Toews (29) and Danny Briere (30) in 2010. Only 19 players in NHL history have scored 30-plus points in the postseason, and Couture has a chance to make that 20. He has the most assists and points in one playoffs in Sharks franchise history, and scored a goal and had two apples in the Game 5 victory.
He holds a plus-five rating, has gone to the penalty box just four times in 23 games, and 11 of his points have come on the power-play.
The Guelph, Ontario native has eight multi-point games and scored three points on four different occasions in these playoffs.
In San Jose’s four series-clinching or elimination games (Game 5 @ LA, Game 7 vs. NSH, Game 6 vs. STL, Game 5 @ PIT) he had three points in every game. That’s 12 points in the Sharks’ four biggest games of the season – all of which he may have been the best skater on the ice for.
In San Jose’s four series-winning games or elimination games (Game 5 @ LA, Game 7 @ NSH, Game 6 vs. STL, Game 5 @ PIT) he had three points in every game.
How has he gone from a career 0.75 PPG player to 1.26 PPG in the playoffs? Well, his teammates’ success has definitely helped. The Sharks’ dominant power-play has been a story of the playoffs, and Couture fits in nicely on that unit. He, along with Brent Burns, Joe Pavelski, Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau have been deadly moving the puck around and finding holes in the defense.
He almost always capitalizes on chances when given to him and makes very few mistakes with the puck in his own zone.
Patrick Marleau had notably struggled to keep up with the Penguins’ speed and puck possession in Games 2-4 of the Final, so head coach Pete DeBoer simply put him on a line with Couture and Melker Karlsson for Game 5 and watched the trio excel as the best line on the ice for San Jose.
At 6’1″ and 200 pounds, Couture is big enough to battle in front of the net and get scrappy goals, but skilled enough to create scoring chances by himself and is very unselfish and fantastic at finding the open teammate.
Couture has etched his name in San Jose Sharks franchise lore with this historic postseason and his legacy could only be greater if he can help lead team teal to their first-ever Stanley Cup.