Lucky octopus, Couture help Sharks beat Red Wings in OT


When forward Jeffrey Viel knotted Tuesday night’s game at two goals apiece in the third period, the only thing standing in the way of the Sharks’ third straight victory was Detroit Red Wings goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic.

Oh, and an octopus.

The act of throwing an octopus onto the ice is a goofy yet established tradition for Red Wings fans which originated in the 1950s. Supposedly, the eight arms of the octopus once signified the eight victories it took to win the Stanley Cup. Detroit has embraced the tradition and even has an octopus named Al as its unofficial mascot. It’s not uncommon to witness the occasional octopus thrown onto the ice at Little Caesars Arena.

It is, however, unusual to see at SAP Center. And especially in overtime.

The fake octopus landed in the neutral zone in the opening seconds of the OT period. No whistles were blown. Play didn’t come to a halt. Instead, a linesman grabbed it, and San Jose continued to push the puck down the ice. Just a few moments later, Brent Burns slid a pass to Logan Couture, who swatted it in for a game-winning goal. 

“It was weird because the crowd was screaming and yelling,” Couture told reporters after the 3-2 win. “I didn’t know what was going on. I looked up, and I thought there was a jersey on the ice. I got closer and I saw it was an octopus.”

Officials reviewed the goal for several minutes to ensure the octopus didn’t interfere with the play.

“It's something you don't see every day,” Timo Meier told reporters after the game. “It's their tradition. But I guess it brought us luck.”

Tuesday night marked the first game back for Couture, who missed the Sharks’ last three contests while in COVID-19 protocols. 

“Oh, I had energy,” Couture said. “I was in a hotel room for five days. I was sitting, thinking about how I wish I was skating on the ice. It brought me more energy being around the guys. … It’s nice to win.”

San Jose now is 6-0 in games decided in overtime. The Sharks’ only defeat in a contest settled outside of regulation was a 3-2 shootout loss to the New Jersey Devils on Nov. 6.

“We’ve got some guys who can hang on to pucks and make plays,” Meier said. “Every time we’ve got guys on the ice [in overtime], we’ve got three threats to score.”

The Sharks will continue their four-game homestand Thursday night against the New York Rangers.

We'll have to wait to see if the lucky octopus decides to stick around.