December 8, 2019

Logan Couture just had his best month in the NHL; Pete DeBoer has a theory why

SAN JOSE — Logan Couture couldn’t help but smile. After Erik Karlsson’s shot from inside the blue line was redirected by Barclay Goodrow, the puck bounced off Couture’s stick just above the crease and past Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick.

“We were laughing,” Goodrow said of Couture’s goal, which came in the second period of Saturday’s 4-1 win over the Kings. “We had so many good shifts before that. Hitting the post, cross bar, we were creating a ton of chances and then a little fluky bounce like that goes in the net.”

Couture had a lot of feel-good moments last month, which, statistically, was the best of his 11-year NHL career.

His overtime goals helped the Sharks beat the Vegas Golden Knights and New York Islanders in successive games. He had a three-assist night against the Detroit Red Wings and most recently, a two-goal performance in a 4-2 Sharks win over the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday.

Couture established new career highs with 11 assists and 18 points in a single month, and the Sharks have won 11 of their last 13 games.

Per statistician Darin Stephens, Couture’s 18 points were the third most ever recorded by a Sharks player in November, trailing only the 20 points Joe Thornton had in 2009 and the 19 points Vincent Damphousse had in 2000.

“I didn’t realize I had that many points (in November),” Couture said. “But when the team’s winning, individually, you’re successful. I think those two go together.

“Obviously our team didn’t have the month of October that we wanted, I didn’t have the month that I wanted. It’s good to help turn it around.”

Going into Tuesday’s game against the Washington Capitals, Couture, with 28 points in 28 games, is now on pace to set a new career high in points.

A little more than four weeks ago, points and wins weren’t piling up quite as frequently.

After 15 games, Couture had one goal and nine assists and as Sharks languished at the bottom of the Western Conference standings with a 4-10-1 record.

This wasn’t the way anyone had envisioned Couture’s first month as the Sharks captain. But he said when the Sharks were struggling, he wasn’t putting any extra pressure on himself to produce simply because he was wearing a ‘C.’

“I haven’t changed,” he said. “Same every year. I want to come in and I want to contribute offensively, defensively, on special teams. There’s no added pressure just because I’m the captain this year.”

Others saw it differently.

“The first month of the season, I think Logan, being a new captain of this team, really took the troubles of the whole group directly on his shoulders, and I think it affected his game,” Sharks coach Pete DeBoer said.

“When he started to let go of some of the stuff he couldn’t control, and concentrate on his own game a little bit more, things started to get better.”

Couture went four straight games without a point from Oct. 29-Nov. 5 before he broke out with one goal and three assists in the Sharks’ 6-5 …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Sports


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