Three Stars: Couture a force in Sharks’ series-clinching win
And then, there were four.
The Sharks pasted the Predators in Game 7 on Thursday night, earning a berth in the Western Conference final, where they’ll face the St. Louis Blues.
Here’s who stood out to us in this series finale:
Logan Couture, San Jose Sharks
On a night when all of San Jose stars were shining, none were brighter than Couture. The flashy forward took advantage of a Shea Weber giveaway to put the game out of reach early in the second, then added primary helpers on third-period goals by Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau. Couture finished the series with 11 points on six goals and five assists, breaking the franchise single-series record of 10 set by Igor Larionov in 1994. Have to believe he's playing his way into contention for one of the final forward spots on Team Canada for the upcoming World Cup, as well as making a decent case for Conn Smythe consideration.
Joe Thornton, San Jose Sharks
When coach Pete DeBoer called out his team for a soft performance in Game 6, Thornton clearly took it to heart. The veteran center responded with his most intense effort of the series, hammering Nashville defenseman Ryan Ellis on his first shift to set a tone that the rest of the Sharks gladly followed. He also picked up a pair of points on the night, setting up Joe Pavelski's opening tally and finishing off a four-on-one chance to extend San Jose's lead to 4-0 in the third.
Joe Pavelski, San Jose Sharks
With the season on the line, the captain delivered. Pavelski scored the only goal the Sharks would need on a first-period power play, won 71% of his draws and was a relentless defensive presence, helping to ensure that the Predators top line never got a sniff when he was on the ice.