Sharks' Logan Couture doesn't return vs. Avalanche after puck hits face


Logan Couture can't catch a break. 

The Sharks captain left Sunday's game against the Colorado Avalanche at SAP Center on Sunday and did not return after a deflected puck hit him in the face. Timo Meier attempted to pass to Couture, but Avalanche forward J.T. Compher's stick redirected the puck towards Couture and he was unable to dodge it in time. 

Sharks interim coach Bob Boughner told reporters after the game that Couture was placed in the concussion protocol as a precaution, but it's possible Couture will be able to suit up Wednesday in Chicago. 

Couture is in his first season as the Sharks' captain. He missed 17 games after fracturing his left ankle in January, returning to San Jose's lineup on Feb. 27. Sunday marked his seventh game back in the lineup, and Couture had scored two goals and added an assist during that time. 

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The 30-year-old missed previously missed nine games at the end of the 2016-17 season after sustaining a gruesome mouth injury that ultimately required offseason surgery. Couture returned to the Sharks' lineup in the Stanley Cup playoffs, playing all six games in San Jose's first-round loss to the Edmonton Oilers. Boughner's update indicates that Couture didn't repeat history Sunday, and that bodes well for him returning to the Sharks lineup at some point. 

Center Tomas Hertl (torn left ACL and MCL) and defenseman Erik Karlsson (broken thumb) have both undergone season-ending surgery, while defenseman Jacob Middleton is "week-to-week" with a lower-body injury. Based on Boughner's post-game press conference, the Sharks aren't sweating Couture joining them on the injury report. 

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