SAN JOSE -- Logan Couture missed most of the second period, heading to the locker room after getting tangled up along the boards.
And after the game, the Sharks forward was hidden away in a backroom, undergoing treatments for whatever injury with which he still was dealing.
But in between, Couture scored an overtime power-play goal that put the Sharks right back into their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series with a 2-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings in Game 3.
"You are in the game, and you don't know if he's going to come back or not," said Patrick Marleau, who set up Couture for the winning goal at 1:29 of the extra period. "It's huge to see him be able to push through that kind of pain."
The Sharks now will have the chance to even the series at 2-2 at HP Pavilion on Tuesday before returning to Staples Center on Thursday.
"We felt we let one get away in L.A., so we had to come back and answer," said Sharks coach Todd McLellan, fully aware that only three NHL teams have come back from the 0-3 deficit the Sharks would have been facing.
First-period goals by Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle and Kings rookie forward Tyler Toffoli were all the scoring through regulation in a game that, in many ways, was the mirror image of the previous contest.
In that game -- lost by the Sharks when the Kings scored twice in the final two minutes -- it was Los Angeles forward Anze Kopitar who left with an injury and later returned to boost his team's spirit. In this game, it was Couture.
In that game, the Kings ended up with a late five-on-three advantage. In this game, it was the Sharks who held a two-man advantage for 1:19 going into overtime as Kings defenseman Robyn Regehr was off for hooking and center Trevor Lewis for goalie interference.
The Kings survived being two men down, but it was still five-on-four when Couture took a feed from Marleau and beat goaltender Jonathan Quick to send the sellout crowd of 17,562 home in a happy mood.
For a while, McLellan's biggest challenge was finding enough healthy players at forward and on defense.
Forward Marty Havlat let McLellan know after the morning skate that he felt well enough to play for the first time since leaving Game 1 of the Vancouver series with a lower-body injury.
But playing on the third line with Scott Gomez and Tommy Wingels, Havlat left in the first period with an unspecified injury.
Defenseman Scott Hannan was the next Shark to disappear into the locker room, leaving the game 16 seconds into the second period after sliding into the boards. And when Couture left a few minutes later -- Marleau said his linemate stepped on a puck -- the lines and defense pairings were makeshift at times.
"As soon as Marty's gone, you're down and you've got to start thinking about working wingers through," McLellan said. "Cooch is gone and it affects your matchups, it affects everything. It's a scramble. Players did a tremendous job. They were ready to go with anybody."
Hannan returned midway through the second period, and when Couture jumped over the boards to the roar of the crowd with 1:13 left, the Sharks were almost back to full strength.
The Sharks fed off the early energy at HP Pavilion, needing only four seconds of an early power play to take a 1-0 lead at 1:34 when Boyle blasted a shot from the blue line that sailed over Quick's shoulder.
But the mood in the building changed midway through the period after a giveaway by defenseman Brad Stuart ended up on Toffoli's stick and he beat Niemi with a 31-foot backhand shot at 10:08.
Neither team could score in the final 40 minutes, setting the stage for Couture's overtime heroics.
McLellan said he did not expect to have Havlat back Tuesday. What about Couture, who was not available to speak with reporters?
"Based on his smile in the locker room," the coach said, "I'm assuming he'll be fine."