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Setoguchi beats Couture to the punch

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Setoguchi beats Couture to the punch
When Sharks forward Devin Setoguchi completed his hat trick with the overtime winner in Game 3 against the Red Wings, his post-goal victory lap had already been planned out.
Sharks forward Devin Setoguchi turned in one of the best offensive performances of the playoffs Wednesday night when he became the first player this postseason to tally a hat trick.

The feat in and of itself is an impressive one, but this hat trick was sweeter than most, as the third goal came at 9:21 of overtime, giving the Sharks a 4-3 victory in Game 3 of their Western Conference Semifinal with Detroit and a 3-0 series lead. What might be most remarkable about it all is that Setoguchi actually called his shot before the extra period started.

In a manner of speaking.

"I looked over at Logan Couture and said, 'You better get it before I do because I already have my celebration ready to go,'" Setoguchi told the media afterward.

"I looked over at Logan Couture and said, 'You better get it before I do because I already have my celebration ready to go." -- Devin Setoguchi

Such jocularity can be good for morale and competitiveness, but predicting a walk-off shot is a pretty unlikely event, though Petr Sykora is noted for having done just that in Game 5 of the 2008 Stanley Cup Final for the Penguins.

Still, despite the long odds there was Setoguchi at the top of the right circle with 10:39 to go in the first overtime taking a hard-fought feed from Joe Thornton and whipping it past Jimmy Howard's right pad for the game-winning goal. Setoguchi's immediate reaction was to slide down the neutral zone on his knees, an attempt to mimic Portuguese soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo, but that was all part of the plan.

"I said, 'I'm going to pull a Ronaldo and go down to my knees,'" Setoguchi said. "He said, 'That was mine.' I said, 'I'll beat you to it.' It was kind of weird that it happened that way."

Be it good fortune or merely solid planning, Setoguchi seemingly got the best of his teammate Wednesday night. With San Jose one win away from the Western Conference Final, Couture surely doesn't mind too much.

But he may have to work on his Lionel Messi for Game 4.
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— Flyers GM Ron Hextall on Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek after giving Voracek a multiyear extension Thursday