New York Islanders

Logan Couture looks back on OT winner vs. Vegas as Sharks' high point

Logan Couture looks back on OT winner vs. Vegas as Sharks' high point

Programming note: Watch the re-air of Logan Couture's game-winning goal against the Vegas Golden Knights tonight at 8 p.m. PT on NBC Sports California.

While the NHL season is indefinitely paused due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Logan Couture's daily entertainment diet typically consists of a mix of comedy and seriousness. Usually, he would mix sports in with that regimen, but right now, that's not possible.

The Sharks' captain currently is watching the ninth season of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and the second season of "The Wire." There are also daily showings of "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia."

Tonight, however, there will be sports on TV. Specifically, a Sharks game in which San Jose pulled off a thrilling overtime win over an archrival -- and Couture played the role of the hero.

To help Sharks fans get through this unprecedented time, NBC Sports California is re-airing memorable games from San Jose lore. On Thursday night, they were treated to Tomas Hertl's coming-out party, in which he scored four goals in his third career NHL game. Friday's choice was put to a fan vote, and there was a definite theme to the available choices.

Hmm. Couture's overtime winner against the Vegas Golden Knights on Nov. 21, or Couture's OT winner against the New York Islanders ... two days later? As you can see, the rivalry won out.

So, tonight at 8 p.m. on NBC Sports California, you can watch the first of what turned out to be three consecutive overtime victories for San Jose. Of course, given the opponent, this one felt a little bit sweeter.

The game in question came in the middle of the Sharks' strongest stretch of play of the season, in which they won 11 of 13. It's difficult for Couture to evaluate the bright spot of the season, but that stretch in November would have to be it.

"It's tough to answer that question right now," Couture told NBC Sports California's Brodie Brazil, "because, to me, it still feels like we're in the middle of a season. We haven't ended. We haven't done the year-end meetings. We haven't played our last game at the Shark Tank where we give everyone our jerseys. We haven't talked to Doug [Wilson] about how the season went. Like, nothing has been finalized like a normal season is, so it's tough to reflect right now."

[RELATED: How Sharks' Couture is staying in shape during NHL hiatus]

Nonetheless, Couture gave it the ol' college try.

"I think maybe November, we played pretty good," he said. "We won 11 games, I think of 13. That was a good time. We felt like we were back in the race. But the low points this year were lower than they've been in a long time, and we want to avoid that going forward."

Sharks fans have dealt with enough low points this season, and certainly are now. Hopefully, Couture's clutch goal at the high point of San Jose's season can bring them some cheer tonight.

What Evander Kane hopes to teach young Sharks for rest of lost season

What Evander Kane hopes to teach young Sharks for rest of lost season

The Sharks are as baby-faced as it gets after the NHL trade deadline. 

Brenden Dillon, Barclay Goodrow and Patrick Marleau no longer are walking through San Jose's locker-room door after being traded to the Eastern Conference. A cadre of rookies is, however, with six dressing against the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night at SAP Center.

The youth movement is on with the Sharks entering Thursday's contest 14 points back of the Western Conference's final wild-card spot, and the onus is on San Jose's veterans to lead by example, according to winger Evander Kane. 

"I think that's exactly what you gotta do," Kane told NBC Sports California's Bret Hedican before Thursday's game. "You've just gotta go in there and work hard, do what you do best and just kind of encourage them to play their game. They're all here for a reason, [so] go out there and prove it. Go out there and show it."

The Sharks want Kane to set the example. He was benched during the entirety of the third period of Saturday's loss to the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden, starting the next game on a line with depth forwards Alexander True (a rookie) and Stefan Noesen. 

Kane didn't score Sunday or against the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday, but he did lead the Sharks with nine shots on goal during that time and played more than any other forward (20:43) in the loss to the Flyers. It was exactly what Sharks interim coach Bob Boughner wanted to see. 

“I thought he was good,” Boughner told reporters in Uniondale, New York on Sunday of Kane's performance against the Islanders (via The Athletic). “He had a lot of puck possession, he played the right way. I’d say I was hoping that, but I knew that he’s a guy that has a lot of pride and wants to play hard for his team. I think that’s good that he came back with that kind of showing.”

[RELATED: Jumbo ready to help Sharks after deadline disappointment]

Kane, 28, is in the second year of a seven-year contract extension he signed with the Sharks in 2018 when he passed on testing the market as an unrestricted free agent. Neither he nor San Jose would've envisioned that second season would end without a playoff appearance, but Kane and the Sharks are committed to each other for the long haul. 

He and his fellow veterans will be counted on as teachers for the rest of the season, and the Sharks will need their young players to be quick studies in order to return to the playoffs next spring.

NHL trade deadline winners, losers: Best, worst moves around league

NHL trade deadline winners, losers: Best, worst moves around league

The NHL trade deadline came and went, with many names moving and plenty of others staying put. 

Pending unrestricted free agents like goaltender Robin Lehner (Vegas Golden Knights), winger Wayne Simmonds (Buffalo Sabres) and center Jean-Gabriel Pageau (New York Islanders) all have new homes. Veteran Sharks center Joe Thornton wasn't traded, Chris Kreider re-signed with the New York Rangers and Calgary Flames star Johnny Gaudreau just had to pee. 

Some teams, executives and fan bases stood out for reasons good and bad because of the deals made before noon PT on Monday. Here are your winners and losers from this year's NHL trade deadline. 

Winner: Doug Wilson

The Sharks general manager hasn't needed to sell in a half-decade, but he made the most of San Jose's down year in the last week. Brenden Dillon fetching a second-round pick and a conditional third was a tad underwhelming, but acquiring a 2020 first-round pick for Barclay Goodrow and a third is an inspired bit of business. Getting anything for veteran forward Patrick Marleau -- who the Sharks signed after the start of the season and very well could re-sign this summer -- was strong work, too, let alone for a third-round pick in 2021. 

Wilson woke up last Tuesday with just one pick among the first 62 in June's draft at his disposal, and he ended the deadline with three. The Tampa Bay Lightning pick won't be too far in front of the Sharks' own second-round pick, considering their respective place in the NHL standings. Wilson now has significant ammunition to move up in the draft or package them together in a trade to get the Sharks back into contention.

The GM said last week he thinks San Jose has the foundation in place to return to the playoffs in 2021, and he now has the pieces to supplement that core this summer. 

Loser: Julien BriseBois

Wilson has been in his Lightning counterpart's skates shoes suit before, overseeing a salary cap-strapped team and trying to supplement an ultra-talented -- and ultra-expensive -- core with cheap depth. The Sharks, after all, have traded first-round picks for rentals before. Goodrow is a solid depth forward, he's valuable to Tampa Bay on a $925,000 cap hit through 2021 and most teams would take a first-round pick in the 20-plus range becoming a capable contributor of any kind.

The Lightning paid a premium, though, even when you factor in that the Sharks sent back a third-round pick and that the organization firmly is in win-now mode. Tampa Bay has a stellar track record of developing mid-round talent, but trading two first-round picks -- including one in exchange for versatile forward Blake Coleman --  could really sting down the line as the Lightning's more expensive forwards age out of their primes.

The price will be worth it if they win the Stanley Cup in either of the next two years, but Wilson can speak to the difficult position BriseBois would be in if the Lightning do not.

Winner: Vegas Golden Knights

Peter DeBoer probably didn't expect he'd have similar goaltending headaches in Sin City as he did the last two seasons in San Jose, but the Golden Knights coach has a much better outlook in the crease after Vegas acquired goaltender Robin Lehner from Chicago. Lehner hasn't quite reached the heights he did in his Vezina-finalist and Masterton-winning season with the New York Islanders in 2019-20, but he has still been one of the NHL's better goalies this season. 

Marc-Andre Fleury hasn't been, with the Quebecois goaltender posting his worst save percentage (.906) this season since joining the Golden Knights. Lehner, at the very least, offers DeBoer a chance to platoon Fleury down the stretch and keep the veteran rested for another postseason run. The Swedish netminder should be Vegas' starter based on his performance this season, however, and this is a smart hedge against Fleury's decline.

A wise bet in Las Vegas? It probably helps the Golden Knights' practice facility is in Summerlin, Nev. rather than on the Vegas strip.

Loser: New York Islanders

The Islanders immediately signed Pageau to a six-year contract extension, reportedly worth $30 million. Pageau is a good player in the middle of a career year, but he also is playing a minute-and-a-half more and has scored on an extremely unsustainable 17.8 percent of his shots this season. A first- and second-round pick (plus a conditional third) already is a hefty enough price to pay aside from the extension. 

It was a questionable deadline for legendary Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello, who paid a premium to acquire a player he drafted and developed with the New Jersey Devils (a 2021 second-round pick for 37-year-old defenseman Andy Greene) and reportedly almost took on more money and team to bring in another player he drafted and developed with the Devils in the rumored Zach Parise-Andrew Ladd swap.

Barry Trotz is a miracle-worker behind the Isles' bench, but the Metropolitan Division is a meat-grinder and Pageau and Greene alone aren't enough to get them out of it. The duo might not be enough to help the Islanders avoid playing the Lightning or Boston Bruins as the second wild-card, either. 

Winner: Sharks fans

Rooting for one of Dillon and Marleau in the inevitable Capitals-Penguins bloodbath will be a far easier dilemma than having to choose between Marleau and a traded Thornton. One 40-year-old stayed put in San Jose, taking that potential Sophie's Choice off the board. 

Loser: Toronto Maple Leafs fans

There must be a German word for the very specific type of schadenfreude NHL fans felt seeing the Leafs lose to a Zamboni driver and the ensuing freak-out. Hockey types of all stripes have dunked on the Leafs for the last 48 hours, and Toronto's tepid trade deadline didn't bring them any closer to bridging the gap with Boston and Tampa Bay.

At least denizens of the Six have the Raptors. 

[RELATED: What trade Sharks did, didn't make mean going forward]

Winner: Carolina Hurricanes

It just keeps getting better in Raleigh. The Hurricanes arguably made the biggest splashes of the NHL trade deadline, revamping their blue line and re-loading up front by acquiring defensemen Sami Vatanen and Brady Skjei, plus center Vincent Trochek. The former two can eat up minutes and move the puck, and Trocheck gives Carolina the luxury of playing Jordan Staal on the third line. 

The 'Canes are an elite puck-possession team with legitimate questions in net, but Monday's deals give them the depth to make some real noise this spring. Don't count on them finishing among the wild-card teams, and don't be shocked if they make it to the Eastern Conference final, either.