Sharks F Tomas Hertl to miss Game 3 with lower-body injury
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) The San Jose Sharks will be without top-line forward Tomas Hertl for Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final.
Coach Peter DeBoer said Hertl will miss Saturday's game with a lower-body injury. Dainius Zubrus will return to the lineup for San Jose. Either Zubrus or Melker Karlsson will replace Hertl to the wing on the top line with Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski.
''Next man up for us,'' DeBoer said. ''He's arguably been maybe our best player through the first two games. Injuries are no excuse this time of year. We have somebody that will go in for him, will roll out there and be ready to play.''
The Sharks trail the series against the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-0.
Hertl scored one of San Jose's three goals in the series and has generated numerous other scoring chances for a team struggling to generate consistent offense.
Hertl has six goals and five assists in 20 playoff games this season. His move to the top line in early January was a major reason for San Jose's turnaround and helped the Sharks make the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in franchise history.
''That whole line really works together,'' Pittsburgh defenseman Ian Cole said. ''You've seen that in the course of the playoffs, how successful they've been, how dominant they've been in a lot of situations. But specifically Hertl, I think he's good at everything. He's maybe not the best in the league at one particular thing, but he's really, really good at everything.
''Great speed, strong, can take pucks at the net, has an outside shot as well. When you have a guy that's that good, you need to be very aware of him when he's out there.''
Karlsson spent significant time on a line with Thornton and Pavelski last season and also played their early this season before Hertl took over that role. Zubrus also has played on that line where the key job for the third player is retrieving the puck.
''Those two guys pretty much take care of the rest,'' DeBoer said. ''I think we've got a lot of options there because of who we're sticking them in with. I think it should be fairly seamless.''