UPDATE: Sunday, May 19, at 12:10 a.m. ET by Ian Hanford
Not only did Couture return to the ice Saturday night, but, as ESPN's Pierre LeBrun noted, he scored the game-winning goal in overtime:
What a storybook night for Couture, guts it out, returns from leg injury, and scores winner in OT. We have a series now.— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) May 19, 2013
---End of update---
UPDATE: Saturday, May 18, at 10:53 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford
According to ESPN's Pierre LeBrun, Couture is back on the ice:
Couture using another stoppage to jump on the ice and take a whirl, test things out... He's going to take a shift now— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) May 19, 2013
---End of update---
Logan Couture hurt falling into the boards. Gone to the dressing room— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) May 19, 2013
LeBrun notes that the San Jose star was heavily favoring his left leg, though it's unclear what part of his leg was injured:
Couture favoring left leg (ankle?) as he leaves the ice— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) May 19, 2013
Wes Gilbertson of the Calgary Sun noted that Couture was unable to put any weight on his leg heading back to the locker room.
Sharks centre Logan Couture just left the ice putting no weight on one leg and went straight to the room. Not good news.— Wes Gilbertson (@SUNGilbertson) May 19, 2013
Couture left the ice midway through the second period with the score tied 1-1.
San Jose came into Saturday night's action down 2-0 to the defending Stanley Cup champion Kings. Buoyed by the excellence of goalie Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles was able to stifle a Sharks attack that struggled for long stretches during the regular season.
Things will would only get worse if Couture is out an extended period of time. The 24-year-old center isn’t mentioned among the Sidney Crosbys of the NHL, but has fast become the Sharks’ most reliable offensive threat. Couture had nine points in six playoff games heading into Game 3, which was tied with seventh among all players.
That performance falls in line with Couture’s strong finish to the regular season. The fourth-year pro finished the 2012-13 campaign with 37 points, including a team-high 21 goals.
While an assist is all he has to his name versus Los Angeles, Couture’s mere presence is a threat that has to be accounted for every time down the ice. Without him in the lineup, the Sharks will have to make major adjustments to their lines, ones that could prove critical against a Kings team peaking at the right moment.
The Sharks are yet to release an official statement on Couture’s condition.