SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) Logan Couture does the dirty work that doesn’t always get noticed.
But with his team in desperate need of a win, he didn’t shy away from the limelight.
Couture scored two goals and Martin Jones had 38 saves as the San Jose Sharks beat the Winnipeg Jets 4-0 on Saturday night.
The Sharks won for just the second time in six games with two ties over that stretch and improved to 18-5-2-2 all-time against Winnipeg. The Jets had won five of their previous six and 10 of their last 13.
Couture scored a short-handed goal on a breakaway at 13:13 of the second period for his 13th goal of the season to give the Sharks a 3-0 lead. Couture took the puck from just past the San Jose blue line, faked a shot as he approached goalie Connor Hellebuyck and then backhanded the puck into the net.
”He’s very much an unsung hero for what he does defensively,” said Sharks assistant coach Steve Spott.
”He blocks shots, and that’s what you want from your best players. When guys like Logan do it, it sends the right message to our young guys.”
The victory followed a tough 5-4 overtime loss to the Vegas Golden Nights on Friday that appeared to still weigh on the Sharks.
”It was better than last game, but I still think it’s not near where it needs to be,” Couture said of Saturday’s win. ”I think (Jones) bailed us out way too often. Like I said, too many odd man rushes against, they probably had close to double digits. Fortunately, Joner made the big saves.”
Tim Heed scored the game’s first goal on a power play at 11:30 of the first period. Heed blasted a shot from the high slot off a behind-the-back pass from Kevin Labanc.
”I was waiting for it there, I was hoping (Labanc) would see me there, so it was good he found me there,” Heed said.
Heed’s shot hit Jets goalie Steve Mason in the mask. Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice pulled Mason from the game after the first period. Mason said he felt ill, and will be evaluated by doctors on Sunday.
Couture scored his goal just outside the crease after he rebounded a deflection with 16 seconds left in the first period.
”Tough one at the end of the first because you’d like to out of there thinking if you’re down one, lots of hockey (left),” Maurice said.
The Sharks were 1 for 2 on power plays, and the Jets 0 for 3.
”Any time you give up a short-handed goal it’s going to be tough to win the game,” Jets defenseman Ben Chiarot said. ”They were good on their special teams and we weren’t so good on ours.”
Tomas Hertl scored an empty-netter at 16:50 of the third, his fifth.
”I think we just left a lot there,” Maurice said. ”We had a 3-on-1 that we don’t get to the net, a couple of 2-on-1s. There were an awful lot of plays that we just didn’t execute smooth or clean, so we couldn’t put any pressure in terms of scoring a goal and changing that momentum a little bit.”
The Jets completed a tough four-game road trip 2-2, winning two of three on their California swing.
”It wasn’t easy to get a handle on the puck and we looked a little bit off but our compete was good,” Maurice said. ”This was a grinder on the road in an NHL schedule. We came up short, and we’ll move on.”
NOTES: Sharks C Melker Karlson participated in Saturday’s practice but missed his fourth game with an upper body injury. . Jets Fs Shawn Matthais and Marko Dano and D Tucker Poolman were healthy scratches.
Winnipeg: Hosts Minnesota on Monday.
San Jose: Opens a four-game road trip in Philadelphia on Tuesday.
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