Sharks captain Logan Couture out 6 weeks with ankle injury

<p>
              San Jose Sharks' Logan Couture, right, dumps the puck across the blue line past Columbus Blue Jackets' Seth Jones during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020, in Columbus, Ohio. The Sharks beat the Blue Jackets 3-2. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)
            </p>

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — San Jose Sharks captain and leading scorer Logan Couture will miss about six weeks after breaking his left ankle when he crashed into the boards.

Couture was injured Tuesday night in a 3-2 loss to St. Louis when he collided with Blues defenseman Vince Dunn and banged into the boards. The Sharks said Thursday that Couture has a small fracture in his left ankle and is expected to miss approximately six weeks.

The injury is the latest blow in a tough season for the Sharks, who began Thursday in 13th place in the Western Conference and are nine points out of a playoff berth. San Jose has lost 13 of its past 16 games following a strong November to plummet in the standings a year after making it to the Western Conference final.

The Sharks have made the playoffs in 15 of the past 16 seasons but may have trouble getting back there without one of their best forwards for a long stretch.

Couture had been one of the few bright spots for San Jose in his first season as captain. He has 14 goals, 22 assists and leads the team with 36 points.

He also usually matches up against the opposing top line as one of the league’s best two-way centers. He leads all San Jose forwards in power play time and is third among forwards in time on the league’s top-ranked penalty kill.

San Jose ranks 27th in the league with 2.64 goals per game and will have a hard time replacing that scoring.

“He’s a catalyst of our offense, penalty kill and everything,” interim coach Bob Boughner said after the game Tuesday. “It’ll be a tough loss.”

The 30-year-old Couture has 254 goals and 289 assists in 708 career games. He is also known for raising his level of play in key moments, ranking second in the NHL with 48 playoff goals and fourth with 101 points since his first postseason in 2009-10. Couture led all players last season with 14 goals during San Jose’s playoff run.