Couture OT winner pushes Sharks past Coyotes
SAP CENTER — Power play goals and even more overtime took center stage Saturday night as Logan Couture scored on the Sharks’ fifth and final power play to give Team Teal a 3-2 OT victory over the Phoenix Coyotes in exhibition play.
Goaltender Harri Sateri had an outstanding debut between the pipes for San Jose, making 24 saves in just a little over 60 minutes of play even when the Coyotes challenged him in the final 20 minutes of regulation.
Teammate Jason Demers complimented the young goalie’s game:
“He played really well. Made the saves he needed to, especially in the third they pressed a little bit. He came up big for us, and he got the win, so that’s the most important thing.”
Sateri, who shared the starting role last season in Worcester with Alex Stalock, impressed from the start of the start of the opening period, becoming a wall for the puck to knock into.
But Phoenix got on the board first with their second power play of the evening. A wrister by Oliver Ekman-Larsson shot through Sateri’s legs for a 1-0 advantage at 10:08. The power play goal ended the Sharks’ perfect penalty kill during preseason.
San Jose made it a game not a minute into the second period. After Coyote Chris Brown was sent to the box for high-sticking, rookie Freddie Hamilton’s backhanded shot on a redirection from Patrick Marleau passed goalie Mike Smith to tie the game 1-1. Logan Couture also tallied an assist.
The goal was Hamilton’s first of the preseason and the Sharks first power play goal in exhibition play. But when asked about the goal post-game, the young Hamilton stayed modest:
“I was really fortunate to get time out there on the power play with those good players. I was just trying to get to the front of the net and screen the goalie. (Marleau) made a nice play, it came to me, and I just put it in.”
Head Coach Todd McLellan said of Hamilton, coming from the Worcester Sharks of the AHL:
“I’m glad he’s got confidence. He is pushing some others, and he is playing like he wants to make the team. … We need to take it a step further and make sure he can play against full rosters.”
Team Teal made good on their third power play of the evening when, six seconds into the man advantage, Jason Demers’ wrist shot gave the Sharks the 2-1 lead. Marleau and Joe Pavelski got the assists.
Demers, coming off of a not-so-stellar 2013 campaign, said of the goal:
“It felt really good. We got a lot of good practice in this week. It’s good to have my confidence up, and just get things going and get ready for the season.”
The lead almost carried into the second intermission. But after Marc-Edouard Vlasic went to the box for hooking, Phoenix forward Andy Miele sent a wrist shot through traffic past the kneeling Sateri to tie the game 2-2 with 31 seconds left in the period.
Sateri came up big in the third period, blocking seven strong attempts by the Coyotes to break the tie. However, Smith continued to do his job at the other end of the ice, and the score remained tied 2-2, forcing the game into four-on-four overtime.
At 3:38 in OT, Couture got a hold of the puck after Pavelski’s shot missed, sending a backhanded shot into the net to put San Jose on top for good, 3-2.
Exhibition play continues Tuesday as the Sharks host the Vancouver Canucks. The puck is scheduled to drop at 7:30 p.m.
Freddie Hamilton, Jason Demers, and Logan Couture all had their first goals of the preseason. … Patrick Marleau had a team-high four shots. … Joe Pavelski went 15-of-22 (68%) from the face-off dot. … San Jose had four players put up two-point nights: Logan Couture, Jason Demers, Joe Pavelski and Patrick Marleau. Freddie Hamilton was the only other Sharks player to register a point.