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San Jose coach Peter DeBoer talks about Logan Couture as playing at another level at this time of the year. Couture proved his coach right once again.
Couture scored his NHL-leading 16th go-ahead goal six minutes into the third period and the Sharks improved their chances for home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs with a 4-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday night.
”It was a big power play DJ Chark Youth Jersey ,” Couture said. ”I think we moved the puck around OK on the first one we had. The second one, just a great play by (Kevin) Labanc to find me. (Goalie Jonathan) Bernier was out of the net. Actually, the puck hopped on my stick. I wasn’t trying to shoot it along the ice. I got a little lucky.”
Justin Braun, Tomas Hertl and Joonas Donskoi also scored for the Sharks, who snapped a four-game losing streak and kept their one-point lead over the Anaheim Ducks for second-place in the Pacific Division.
”That’s not an easy game for us under the circumstances and some of the guys out,” DeBoer said. ”I thought we dug deep and found a way to win an important game at an important time of year.”
Mikko Rantanen and Blake Comeau scored for the Avalanche, who missed an opportunity to increase their lead over the St. Louis Blues for a playoff spot.
Martin Jones stopped 23 shots for the Sharks. Bernier saved 32 for the Avalanche.
Less than three minutes into the first period, Braun scored on a slap shot from just inside the blue line that deflected off the arm or stick of a Colorado defender Authentic Andy Dalton Jersey , giving Bernier no chance to adjust.
”That was huge. We needed that just to kind of put those other teams in the rear view a little bit,” Braun said. ”If we hold onto second here on Saturday and go from there, get home ice in the first round. It would be huge.”
The Avalanche tied the score with a power-play goal at 15:17. Jones blocked the first two shots but could not control them. The second bounced free toward the side, and Rantanen was able to get it by a diving Jones.
Tyson Barrie earned an assist on the play, giving him a career-best 43. His 56 points match Rob Blake for most by an Avalanche defenseman in the past 16 years.
Colorado has scored on the power play in each of its last four games and is 6 of 11 during that span. It also has allowed a power-play goal in each of the past five games.
Couture scored on a power play 77 seconds after the Avalanche tied the game. Labanc recorded the first assist with a nice crossing pass.
The Blues will enter Saturday’s game in Denver either up a point or down a point, meaning the final game of the regular season will determine which team goes to the playoffs and which team goes home.
”We’ll have to take advantage of home ice. This is Game 7 for us,” said Mark Barberio, who returned to action after a long absence. ”These are the moments we play for: a chance to make the playoffs.”
Donskoi scored midway through the final period to make it 3-1. Dylan DeMelo took a shot that Bernier stopped Cheap Sam Darnold Jersey , but Donsoi took it away and put it in the net before Bernier could cover.
Two minutes later, Comeau redirected a shot by David Warsofsky to make it 3-2.
Hertl scored an empty-net goal in the final two seconds.
”It comes down to one game. It’s going to be a fun one,” Colorado coach Jared Bednar said. ”We’ll have to earn every inch of the ice.”
NOTES: Colorado C Carl Soderberg played in his 399th NHL game. … Couture has points in three of his last four games. … Sharks F Evander Kane missed his second straight game as a result of an upper-body injury sustained last Saturday in Las Vegas.
Avalanche: Host St. Louis on Saturday in the regular-season finale.
Sharks: Host Minnesota on Saturday in the regular-season finale.
Dougie Hamilton is closing out an impressive performance in a disappointing season for the Calgary Flames.
Hamilton’s league-leading 17th goal by a defenseman helped Calgary snap a seven-game losing streak with a 3-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night.
”Quick release. (His shot) comes on you in a hurry,” said Flames goaltender Mike Smith, who only has to stare it down in practice. ”He changes the angle really well. He’s definitely got a good shot.”
Mikael Backlund had a goal and an assist and Garnet Hathaway also scored to help Calgary to its first win since a 1-0 victory over Edmonton on March 13. Michael Frolik added two assists, and Smith stopped 34 shots.
Anton Slepyshev and Mike Cammalleri scored for Edmonton. Cam Talbot gave up three goals on seven shots before he was pulled 15 1/2 minutes in with the Oilers trailing 3-1. Al Montoya came on and stopped all 13 shots he faced.
Edmonton grabbed the lead on Slepyshev’s sixth of the season 2:41 into the first, but the Flames responded with three goals in less than nine minutes.
Hamilton got it started with a wicked 30-foot wrist shot that beat Talbot at 6:43 on the Oilers’ first shot on goal. Hamilton has 13 goals since Jan. 1, tying him with Sean Monahan for second on the team behind Matthew Tkachuk in that stretch.
”It’s so heavy and his release is quick Cheap Christian Kirk Jersey , he doesn’t need a wind-up to get the velocity on it. I thought Dougie had an excellent game,” Flames coach Glen Gulutzan said.
Hathaway put the Flames in front at 11:54, beating Talbot on a wrist shot inside the post from nearly 60 feet out. The short-handed goal was Hathaway’s first goal in 42 games.
Backlund neatly pulled the puck around Talbot and fired in his 14th goal of the season with 4:32 remaining in the first. That was it for Talbot.
”It wasn’t his best night,” Oilers coach Todd McLellan said. ”If we could get one of them back, we’d take it. But he’s been tremendous. In the last six weeks, he’s been a rock for our team.”
The Oilers were the much better team in the second period, outshooting Calgary 12-5 and narrowing the deficit to 3-2 on Cammalleri’s deflection with 7:19 left.
”A tale of two teams. First period, not good Josh Rosen Youth Jersey , nothing to be proud of,” said Cammalleri, who hadn’t scored since Dec. 28. ”Second two (periods), probably more how we want to play.”
In one sequence, Edmonton had three odd-man rushes within the same penalty kill, but it only got one shot out of it. On consecutive 2-on-1s, Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl failed each time to get a shot on goal.
Early in the third, the same duo combined again Josh Rosen Jersey , but Draisaitl rang a shot off the post.
NOTES: McDavid, the NHL’s leading scorer, failed to pick up a point, snapping his six-game scoring streak (seven goals, seven assists). … Edmonton was 0 for 5 on the power play. Calgary was 0 for 3 and fell to 1 for 47 over the last 16 games. … Calgary F Johnny Gaudreau returned to the lineup after missing two games (family matter). His line centered by Nick Shore also had Edmonton-born Spencer Foo, who made his NHL debut. … With the Travis Hamonic (upper body) out, Matt Bartkowski returned to the lineup after being scratched 45 of the previous 46 games.
Oilers: At Minnesota on Monday night before closing the season with two home games.
Flames: Host Arizona on Tuesday night.
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