Video: Couture fined $5K for slew-footing Smith

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San Jose forward Logan Couture has been fined $5,000 — the maximum allowable under the CBA — for slew-footing Detroit’s Brendan Smith on Thursday night, the NHL has announced.

The incident occurred at the 16:03 mark of the third period, as shown here:

Couture was given a tripping minor on the play while Smith was whistled for hooking.

Smith, who appeared to be shaken up after landing on the ice, didn’t play for the remainder of the contest. Wings GM Ken Holland later updated Smith’s status as “fine, day-to-day, nothing serious,” per MLive.

This is the third slew-footing offense the NHL has punished this season. Ryan Garbutt was suspended three games for his on Dustin Byfuglein back in early December, and Brad Marchand was suspended two games for his on Derick Brassard in mid-January.

The Sharks are shaking up their lines

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With just two wins in their last nine, the San Jose Sharks are shaking up their lines for tonight’s game in Dallas.

From CSN Bay Area:

Against the Stars, indications are Logan Couture will center Joe Pavelski and Tommy Wingels on the (top?) line, while Joe Thornton skates between Patrick Marleau and Melker Karlsson on another line. Tyler Kennedy will get bumped up to a third line role with center James Sheppard and Matt Nieto, while rookie Chris Tierney will be between Tomas Hertl and Andrew Desjardins on the fourth line.

Couture has spent most of the season skating with Marleau, while Thornton has most often been with Pavelski.

Of the four, it’s Marleau the Sharks could use more from. The 35-year-old has just 11 goals in 59 games. He finished last season with 33 goals.

Five-on-five, Marleau and Thornton haven’t skated regularly together since 2011-12.

Related: Sharks risking ‘national embarrassment’ in outdoor game: columnist

Couture: Sharks keep making same mistakes

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The San Jose Sharks are currently ranked second in the Pacific Division, but their position is a lot shakier than it might originally appear.

With 66 points in 58 games played, their lead is tenuous over Vancouver (65 in 55 GP) and Calgary (65 in 56 GP) while Los Angeles’ surge looks foreboding as the Kings have 62 points in 55 games played.

In other words, San Jose can’t really afford lengthy stumbles (like going 2-4-2 in its past eight games), so Sunday’s 5-2 defeat to the Tampa Bay Lightning is quite troubling.

More than anything else, the Sharks seem worried about defensive lapses, as CSNBayArea.com reports.

“It’s so frustrating because the mistakes we’re making are things we work on, things that we do in practice, things that we watch on video,” Logan Couture said.

“I mean, no one’s going to be perfect in a hockey game, but when you’re constantly making the same mistakes every single night, you need to take a look in the mirror and wonder what you’re bringing, if you’re mentally prepared every night and you know what you’re supposed to do.”

Marc-Edouard Vlasic returning to the mix should help long-term, but that wasn’t really the case on Sunday, as he had a matching -2 rating with defensive partner Brent Burns.

Couture frames the issue a the Sharks being self-destructive, yet one cannot help but wonder if the Sharks simply lack the personnel to raise their level of defensive play. Whatever the explanation may be, San Jose cannot afford to fade down the stretch.

Cutting down on their own mistakes would certainly improve their odds of avoiding a lull.

Stamkos and Callahan lead the Bolts over the Sharks

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The Tampa Bay Lightning opened a five-game, eight-day road trip with a 5-2 win over the San Jose Sharks Sunday night.

Steven Stamkos and Ryan Callahan each had a goal and an assist while Valtteri Filppula added two helpers for the Lightning, who avoided a third straight loss.

“We wanted to start this road trip on the right foot, and we did,” said Stamkos per NHL.com. “We gave them a couple of good looks but [Ben Bishop] was there, and we capitalized on our chances. [That] was a big game for [Bishop] to get his mojo back. He was terrific tonight.”

Alex Killorn, Ondrej Palat and Cedric Paquette had Tampa’s other goals. Bishop, who had been pulled in two of his last three starts, made 33 saves to improve to 28-10-3 on the season.

Logan Couture and Brent Burns had the goals for the Sharks.

Antti Niemi stopped 28 shots in the loss.

San Jose is now winless five straight at home this month. San Jose has just one win in their last five overall as well.

“This is frustrating,” Couture said. “The mistakes we make are things we work on, we practice on and watch video. When you constantly make the same mistakes every single night, you question whether you are prepared to play.

“These are things that should have been fixed in Week 2 of the season. We all go through training camp learning the system. You have to play it. I don’t care whether you’re a rookie or a veteran. Our attention to details is not where it should be. It’s the entire team. You lose when the team is not on the same page and that’s what we’re going through right now.”

Things don’t get easier for the Sharks who head to Nashville on Tuesday for a meeting with the Predators.

Tampa continues its road trip Monday against the L.A. Kings.

Inconsistent Sharks could really use a win tonight

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The NHL’s most unpredictable team will be back in action tonight when they visit the Coyotes in Arizona.

Bet on the result at your own peril, given this is how it’s gone the last 10 games for the San Jose Sharks:

source:

The general rule it seems? Win the tough ones, lose the not-so-tough ones.

As a result, after earning one measly point in a three-game home stand in which the Sharks were favored all three times, their chances of making the playoffs have fallen to 59.1 percent, per Sports Club Stats.

It’s hard to explain why the Sharks have, for the most part, been successful against the good teams while suffering losses to the likes of Buffalo (twice), Edmonton (also twice), Columbus (again, twice), Carolina, and New Jersey. Logan Couture thinks it might have something to do with “youth.”

Whatever the reason, they know they need to figure it out.

“Enough is enough in terms of our inconsistent play. We can’t keep riding this roller coaster for the rest of the year,” forward Tommy Wingels said, per the Mercury News. “Before you know it, the season will be wasted away and we’ll look back on it and not be happy missing the playoffs. We’ve got to step it up and find a way to start winning consistently.”