NHL Gameday: Couture heating up as Sharks host Preds

NHL Gameday: Couture heating up as Sharks host Preds

Programming note – Sharks-Predators coverage starts today at 12:30 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live on CSN California


Sharks: 40-19-7, 87 points, 1st Pacific Division
Predators: 32-24-11, 75 points, 3rd Central Division


***Fresh off of their 40th win of the season, the Sharks will host Nashville in the second of a six-game homestand. They have won five of the last six overall (5-1-0). 

On Thursday against Washington, it was a pair of power play goals that keyed a 4-2 win over league-leading Washington. Previously, that unit had been just 2-for-23 over the last nine games.

“I think we pinpointed some of the things in a pretty small package what we needed to fix that we thought could start to help us,” Pete DeBoer said. “The guys went out and did that.”

***Nashville remains in playoff position in third place in the Central Division, but has dropped its last four (0-2-2). It fell in a shootout decision to Anaheim on Tuesday, 4-3, and suffered a 3-2 overtime loss to the Kings on Thursday.

All three of Los Angeles’ goals were scored on the power play. Nashville has allowed six power play goals-against in 11 opportunities during its four-game skid.

"Needs to be better," Predators coach Peter Laviolette told reporters regarding the penalty kill.

***This is the second of two meetings between the teams, which faced each other last season in an entertaining second round Stanley Cup playoff matchup. The Sharks beat Nashville at home on Oct. 29, 4-1. They face off again at Bridgestone Arena in exactly two weeks.

Sharks: Logan Couture. The second line center has arguably been the Sharks’ best player since the bye week, with four goals and three assists for seven points in his last six games. He scored both of the Sharks’ power play goals on Thursday, and 10 of his 23 on the season have come with a man advantage, tying him for 12th in the NHL.

Predators: Filip Forsberg. The Preds’ forward has been among the league’s hottest scorers of late, with 11 goals in his last nine games. The NHL’s second star of the month of February has 24 goals in his last 37 games, and is tied for second in the NHL with three shorthanded tallies. He’s tied with Ryan Johansen for the team lead in points (51).


Jannik Hansen – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Patrick Marleau – Logan Couture – Mikkel Boedker
Joonas Donskoi – Tomas Hertl – Melker Karlsson
Micheal Haley – Chris Tierney – Joel Ward

Paul Martin – Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon – Dylan DeMelo

Martin Jones (starter)
Aaron Dell

Filip Forsberg – Ryan Johansen – Viktor Arvidsson
Kevin Fiala – Mike Fisher – Craig Smith
Colin Wilson – Calle Jarnkrok – James Neal
Cody McLeod – Colton Sissons – Austin Watson

Mattias Ekholm – P.K. Subban
Matt Irwin – Roman Josi
Anthony Bitetto – Yannick Weber

Pekka Rinne
Jusse Saros


Sharks: David Schlemko (lower body) is out.

Predators: P.A. Parenteau (finger) and Ryan Ellis (lower body) are day-to-day. Miikka Salomaki (lower body) is out. 


“I’d lie if I said it wasn’t nice. It felt good. Not just that we scored, it felt like we were going to score before the power play even started. … We kind of felt that intensity throughout the group, and it showed tonight.” – Joe Pavelski, on the Sharks’ two power play goals on Thursday against the Capitals


Doug Wilson hopes Sharks' youngsters can help team finish on high note

Doug Wilson hopes Sharks' youngsters can help team finish on high note

The Sharks lost their first four games to the 2019-20 season, and it hasn't gotten much better since. San Jose is all but guaranteed to miss the playoffs for only the second time since Doug Wilson took over as general manager 16 seasons ago, and just as it has been for the players, the disappointing year has been tough on Wilson, too.

"It's been a challenge," Wilson told NBC Sports California's Jamie Baker ahead of the Sharks' game against the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night. "But that happens in life. If you're going to have the success and the moments that you enjoy, then you've got to deal with these things. I'll be honest with you, you learn a lot about people through times like this. Emotions get into play, but what you've got to do is make sure you have clarity to make the right decisions going forward. So, that's the balance you're trying to find during these challenging times."

Wilson and San Jose got more clarity with the passing of the NHL's trade deadline on Monday, as the team sent veteran forwards Patrick Marleau and Barclay Goodrow to the Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning, respectively, in exchange for draft picks. The Sharks also received two draft picks from the Washington Capitals in the Brenden Dillon trade last week.

[RELATED: Wilson pleased with Sharks' haul, but work is just starting]

While the draft picks certainly will help as Wilson tries to build the roster back to a contending state this offseason, the departures of Marleau, Goodrow and Dillon have left large voids in San Jose's lineup, and there are still 20 games left to play. With the Sharks' playoff hopes already dashed, they have every reason to fill those voids with prospects from within the system that might or might not be part of the franchise's future moving forward.

It will be a different kind of finish to the regular season than San Jose is accustomed to, but Wilson is looking forward to seeing what several of those younger players can do with their resulting opportunities.

"There's a lot of them," Wilson said of the prospects. "You take a look at Mario Ferraro -- I think right from Day 1 has been really good -- he's actually stepping up to the next level. You've got a kid, Lean Bergmann, that's been brought in. [Alex True] has come in and [Joel] Kellman's come in, and you're going to see a bunch of guys for the next 20 games or so. And out of this challenging time comes great opportunity. And I think the quality veterans that we have are continuing to instill us playing the right way, which means the young kids can come in and get into good habits. So, we're focused in on that, and there's a little juice and energy when you see these young guys come in."

There hasn't been much positive energy surrounding the Sharks this season. But maybe, just maybe, the youngsters can help San Jose finish the 2019-20 season on a relatively high note.

Sharks' Logan Couture returns to lineup vs. Flyers after long absence


Sharks' Logan Couture returns to lineup vs. Flyers after long absence

Ladies and gentlemen, he's back.

After 17 games out of the lineup, Sharks captain Logan Couture is returning to the San Jose lineup ahead of Tuesday night's game in Philadelphia against the Flyers.

Couture suffered a fractured ankle back on Jan. 7 in St. Louis, and the Sharks have been 7-10-0 in his absence. San Jose activated Couture from injured reserve Tuesday.

[RELATED: Thornton frustrated Sharks didn't trade him to contender]

The center had 36 points in 45 appearances this season, and looks to help the Sharks snap a four-game losing streak.