Logan Couture’s hat trick leads Sharks over Colorado

Logan Couture scored three times, including the go-ahead goal with 7:10 remaining, and the Sharks beat Colorado 4-2 in Denver on Tuesday night to take a 2-1 lead in their Western Conference semifinal series.

Couture sent a shot over the shoulder of Avalanche goaltender Philipp Grubauer just 65 seconds after Matt Nieto tied the score. Couture sealed it on an empty-net goal with 29.5 seconds remaining. Timo Meier also scored for the Sharks.

Game 4 is Thursday in Denver.

It has been an exciting few days for Sharks center Gustav Nyquist, whose wife gave birth to a daughter Monday. He returned to the team before the game and recorded two assists.

San Jose goalie Martin Jones stopped 25 shots.

Nathan MacKinnon had a shorthanded goal and Nieto added another to help the Avalanche rebound from a 2-0 first-period deficit. Grubauer made 27 saves for Colorado, which had won eight straight at home.

The Avalanche went on the power play with 2:56 left when Couture was called for tripping. Colorado pulled Grubauer for an extra skater, but Couture clinched it with a goal to register the hat trick.

Nieto tied the score when Samuel Girard sent a shot at him. Nieto managed to tip it in while jumping in the air. As the crowd was still buzzing, Couture made a nifty move to score and silence the building. Couture has a playoff-leading nine goals.

Late in the second period and with San Jose on the power play, Brent Burns tried to send a pass up the ice, only to have it intercepted near center ice by defenseman Ian Cole. He dished it to the speedy MacKinnon, who raced into the zone and beat Jones with a wrist shot.

Couture gave the Sharks the early lead when he fended off Makar down low and knocked in a backhand shot over Grubauer. Toward the end of the first period, Meier took advantage of a turnover by Erik Johnson in the neutral zone to give the Sharks a two-goal lead.

It was Meier’s third goal of the 2019 playoffs after scoring 30 in the regular season.

Blue Jackets 2, Bruins 1: Sergei Bobrovsky kept up his impressive postseason play, making 36 saves as host Columbus beat Boston to take a 2-1 lead in their Eastern Conference semifinal series.

Boone Jenner and Matt Duchene scored for the Blue Jackets, who won a second-round home game for first time in franchise history.

Game 4 of the best-of-seven series is Thursday night.

Tuukka Rask had 32 saves for Boston. The Bruins’ goal was a flukey one in the last minute of the second period, the only mistake in an otherwise brilliant game by Bobrovsky, who is having the best postseason of his career.

This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sharks/article/Logan-Couture-s-hat-trick-leads-Sharks-over-13809239.php.

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