Couture’s massive night leads Sharks past Pittsburgh Penguins

The Sharks displayed some impressive resilience Saturday after they experienced their most crushing loss of the season the night before.

And their captain led the way.

Logan Couture scored a go-ahead goal with 4:23 left in the third period, and later added an empty-net goal, as the Sharks held on for a 6-4 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG Paints Arena.

On Couture’s first goal, he received a pass from Alexander Barabanov and put a shot on Penguins goalie Casey DeSmith. But Penguins forward Rickard Rakell, trailing the play, crashed into DeSmith and took the puck with him across the goal line.

Couture also assisted on goals by Mikey Eyssimont, Noah Gregor, and Barabanov for the first five-point game of his NHL career, as the Sharks snapped a four-game losing streak and ended their road trip with a 1-2-2 record.

Sharks goalie Kaapo Kahkonen finished with 38 saves, including 19 in the third period. Barabanov had three points and Erik Karlsson and Marc-Edouard Vlasic each added two points in the win.

Sharks center Nico Sturm was knocked out of the game with just under seven minutes to go in the third period on a hit by Jason Zucker.

The Sharks and Penguins were tied 2-2 after a wild first period, as San Jose allowed power-play goals to Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby, and received even-strength goals from Eyssimont and Erik Karlsson.

Karlsson’s goal tied the game 2-2 with 6.5 seconds left in the first period and gave him 16 goals and 65 points for the season, still tops among all NHL defensemen.

The Sharks (15-25-11) now begin a 10-day break, with their next game on Feb. 7 in Tampa.

The Sharks had to try and put a brutal 5-4 overtime loss to Carolina on Friday in the rearview mirror.

Down by two goals, the Hurricanes scored twice in the final 1:37 of the third period to tie the game. The n Martin Necas then scored 55 seconds into overtime, handing the Sharks their fourth straight loss.

“Today was a tough day,” Sharks coach David Quinn said Saturday morning. “We all felt like crap last night, probably as painful a loss as it was all year, which is saying something.”

The Sharks entered Saturday with a record of 3-11 in games that have gone into overtime. Of the 21 games they’ve played this season that have been decided by one goal, the Sharks have won just five of them.

“No one’s been knocked down more than we have this year and nobody’s had a more hurtful season than we have,” Quinn said. “I know there are some teams with worse records but I don’t think anybody’s hurt the way we have because of the way we’ve lost games and the season we’ve had.

“I feel bad for our players. They put a lot into it and we just haven’t got the results we needed. As we’ve touched on over and over again, when you think you’ve seen it all, we find a different way to lose.”

LABANC SCRATCHED: Winger Kevin Labanc was scratched from Saturday’s game. Although it wasn’t immediately clear why Labanc was scratched, Quinn indicated before the game that a few Sharks players were not feeling well. Labanc was a healthy scratch for four straight games from Jan. 16-22.

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Author: Curtis Pashelka