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Logan Couture has hat trick to lead Sharks

SAN JOSE (AP) — Logan Couture had his third career hat trick and the San Jose Sharks scored three times on the power play to beat the Buffalo Sabres 5-1 on Thursday night in their first game back from a five-game road trip.

Couture and Joonas Donskoi scored power-play goals 27 seconds apart in the first period following a double-minor against Kyle Okposo for high sticking. Couture added an even-strength goal in the third period off a feed from Evander Kane and capped the night with an empty-net goal.

Joe Pavelski also scored on the power-play in the third, giving the Sharks three goals with the man advantage after having just two in the first six games.

Martin Jones made 24 saves for the Sharks.

Jake McCabe scored the lone goal for the Sabres, who fell to 1-2 on their five-game Western swing. Carter Hutton made 34 saves.

The Sharks have had a rough go on the power play early this season as they work on incorporating Erik Karlsson into the unit. San Jose converted just 2 of its first 21 chances with the man advantage before capitalizing early against the Sabres when Okposo was called for high-sticking Rourke Chartier.

Late in the first power play, Karlsson’s shot from just inside the boards deflected off Donskoi and into the net to give San Jose the lead and another chance with the man advantage.

The Sharks didn’t take long to convert that one as Couture won an offensive zone draw and got the puck back from Brent Burns on top of the circle and beat Hutton for his second goal of the season.

That was part of seven power-play chances in a penalty-filled first period that featured only 8:35 of even-strength play. The Sabres were unable to convert their three chances, generating just two shots on goal and one off a post by Casey Mittelstadt.

Buffalo’s best chance came in a flurry late in the period, but Jones made a key save and Couture blocked a shot by Marco Scandella when Jones was out of position.

The Sabres got on the board early in the second when McCabe beat Jones with a shot from the circle that went through a screen.

NOTES: Couture also had hat tricks against Vancouver in 2016 and the Islanders in 2017. ... Kane had two assists in his first game against the Sabres since being traded to the Sharks last February. ... San Jose last scored three power-play goals in a game on Dec. 21, 2017, vs. Vancouver. ... Sharks C Joe Thornton missed his fifth straight game with swelling in his surgically repaired right knee.


Buffalo: Visit Los Angeles on Saturday.

San Jose: Host Islanders on Saturday.


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