Logan Couture wanted to give John Tavares a proper goodbye.
In their likely final matchup as juniors, the Ottawa 67's centre got the last laugh against the NHL's top draft prospect with a four-point effort in a 4-3 victory over the London Knights yesterday at the Civic Centre.
While Tavares had a goal and an assist in what could be his final junior game in Ottawa, Couture scored twice and set up Anthony Nigro for two goals as the 67's picked up 3-of-4 points on the weekend to move within nine of first-place Belleville.
"Everybody was fired up," said Couture. "We lost a tough one on Friday (in a 6-5 OT loss to Belleville). Being from London and with four players on the team from London, it was nice to win. We hadn't beaten London in the four years I've been here and it personally fired me up."
Couture and Tavares had a shoving match midway through the third. Couture ended up with a roughing penalty.
"We've been competitors ever since we came into the league," said Tavares. "We've both had pretty good careers so far. He had a great game (yesterday). I don't play him as much anymore and it could have been the last time. (Couture) just said 'hello' and 'all the best' and I just said the same thing back."
The Midwest Division-leading Knights, closing out a three-game road swing, came back to tie the game three times -- including Tavares' 41st of the season at 15:16 of the third notched it at 3-3.
Nigro, who had a three-point effort, scored the winner on a setup from Couture with only 2:46 to play.
67's coach and GM Brian Kilrea said Couture has been a man on a mission since he didn't even get an invite to Team Canada's camp in December.
"If there were some scouts watching, I think Logan was letting them know that even with the world juniors over he could have been a candidate and when he put his mind to it, he knew he was against John Tavares and he used that as a measuring stick," he said.
Ottawa goalie Adam Courchaine made 24 saves. The only goal he would have wanted back was Tavares' effort, from a bad angle.
"It snuck through, but it was one I should have had," said Courchaine. "It was a great shot. When you leave Tavares alone he's going to be able to pick spots like that."
The two points were big and that's why Kilrea couldn't wipe the smile from his face.
"That was a playoff win. Everyone did something to help us get the win," said Kilrea before heading home to watch the Super Bowl. "Little things made a difference for us. We played two of the best teams in the league and I think we can play with two of the top teams."