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Stanley Cup Final

Sharks' Couture OK being outside spotlight

Leads NHL in postseason scoring playing for San Jose team filled with big personalities

by Tom Gulitti @tomgulittinhl / Staff Writer

PITTSBURGH -- On a San Jose Sharks team filled with big personalities and big beards, center Logan Couture manages to fly under the radar.

During the Sharks' portion of Media Day for the Stanley Cup Final at Consol Energy Center on Sunday, the biggest crowds were around Joe Thornton, Brent Burns and captain Joe Pavelski.

Couture, 27, faced his share of questions, too, but didn't receive anywhere near the kind of attention you'd expect for the player who has set a Sharks record and is leading the Stanley Cup Playoffs with 24 points in 18 games.

Not that Couture minds taking a backseat to his teammates.

"To play on a team like this, those guys deserve what they get," Couture said. "They're great players. They do a lot for our team."

But few have done more than Couture to help the Sharks advance to face the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Final, which begins Monday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

"He does a lot of things well," Pavelski said. "He likes to defend. He likes to block shots. He likes those types of situations and he's got all the skills and instincts to be a dominant player. He's shown that. He's one of those players that if you get a chance to play with him, you want him on your line. He's been a big boost for this year and to get him back healthy and playing well has added a lot to our team.

Video: Logan Couture Talks After the Sharks' 6-3 Win

The Sharks saw how important Couture is to their success when he missed 30 of their first 35 games because of injuries. He fractured his right fibula during a practice three games into the season and returned to play in two games before a bleeding artery in his right thigh caused him to miss another seven games.

The Sharks were 32-15-5 with Couture in their lineup, 14-15-1 without him.

"In hindsight now, the fact that he got injured was probably helpful," Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said. "It made us really look at the depth of the organization and give everybody a try. We tried guys at different positions, like [Tomas] Hertl, and brought in a lot of young kids and survived it, barely, but we survived it. Then we got a fresh guy back who still was dealing with some of the injury, but I think his playoffs probably are a testament to the fact that he didn't play 82 games and when he got back in, we were a different team."

Couture agrees that the time off in the first half of the season has helped him in the playoffs.

"I played 52 (regular season) games and I don't know where we're at in the playoffs, but I still haven't had a full season," Couture said. "I feel pretty good. I didn't play for two months, maybe three months, so it should help right now."

Couture lists "a good power play, playing with some good linemates and a couple breaks" as reasons for his playoff production. The Sharks' vaunted power play is clicking at 27.0 percent in the postseason. Couture has four goals and seven assists on the man-advantage.

At even strength, he's been centering a line with Patrick Marleau and Joonas Donksoi on his wings. Marleau acknowledged that Couture gets overshadowed sometimes, but said, "I think he should be talked about a lot.

"He's earned that," Marleau said. "If you sit down and watch his game, he works nonstop out there. He does all those little things well and he's an extremely high-end, talented player. He should definitely be talked about."

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