San Jose

Couture Hat Trick Lifts Sharks Over Avs in Game 3

Logan Couture scored a hat trick Tuesday night as the the San Jose Sharks defeated the Colorado Avalanche 4-2 in Game 3 of their Western Conference semifinal series in Denver.

With the win, the Sharks take a 2-1 series lead in the Western Conference semifinal.

The Sharks made things a little too interesting for their liking late in the game, but hung on for the win thanks to Couture's first career postseason hat trick, which he completed with an empty-netter near the end.

Sharks Highlights From the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs

Here are three takeaways from the Sharks taking a 2-1 series lead.

Changing the first-period narrative: The Avs came out with a big push at the drop of the puck, hemming the Sharks in their own zone for several shifts. Had goaltender Martin Jones not been on his A-game yet again, Colorado might've jumped out to an early lead. But halfway through the period, San Jose got a nice boost of energy that carried over to the impressive shift that produced Logan Couture's game-opening goal.

The Sharks' fourth line deserves a lot of credit in giving their teammates that much-needed push before San Jose took a 2-0 lead. Micheal Haley was particularly noticeable and carried that good play into the second stanza, even drawing a penalty to give the Sharks a chance on the power play.

Speaking of under-the-radar heroes ...

Gustav Nyquist made a big impact: Couture's three goals on the evening might be the big highlights of the evening, but you can't talk about Game 3 without mentioning Gustav Nyquist. The new father created both plays that produced Couture's first two goals.

Nyquist did especially strong work on Couture's second goal in the third period, holding the puck in at the Avalanche blue line so he could set Couture up for the eventual game-winning goal. Not bad for a guy who was on a plane earlier that day after the birth of his first kid.

The Sharks are leaving goals on the board: Although San Jose jumped out to an early 2-0 lead and outshot Colorado through 40 minutes, the Sharks still didn't cash in on all of the opportunities in front of them. They went 0-for-4 on the power play, and a goal on one of those would have helped them to build more of a lead.

Avalanche goaltender Philipp Grubauer deserves credit for stopping a couple of the Sharks' choice chances. He made one particularly impressive stop on Evander Kane's breakaway halfway through the second period that would have been given San Jose a big three-goal cushion. Instead, the Sharks ended up living dangerously through the end of the game because the score was so close.

In Game 4, they might want to make things a little easier on themselves.

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