The San Jose Sharks will enter Thursday’s Game 5, an elimination game, without the services of top-line winger Tomas Hertl. He will miss his third straight game with an undisclosed injury suspected to have occurred at the end of Game 2. He is still considered day-to-day, according to the team.
Hertl’s absence has left the Sharks’ depth a little thin against a team that can roll lines consistently. Melker Karlsson has managed to slot into the top unit seamlessly and has played well, but the fourth line has been inconsistent.
When the game has been on the line, coach Peter DeBoer has routinely stapled guys like Dainius Zubrus to the bench. Zubrus had been a scratch until the injury to Hertl. In his first game back he played just 9:15. He and Tommy Wingels were nowhere to be found in the third period and overtime.
In Game 4, Zubrus played just 5:10, making him nowhere to be found for basically the entire game. Tommy Wingels saw even less ice time, playing just 4:05, and Matt Nieto played just 8:35. Neither Zubrus nor Wingels played any special teams either.
Dustin Nelson is the News Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s a contributor to Hockey Prospectus, Hockey Wilderness, and writes a column for Rotowire. He’s also written for Gone Puck Wild, Wild Xtra, InDigest, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Tiny Mix Tapes, Prefix Magazine & other publications. Have a tip? Email him at dlukenelson[at]gmail[dot]com.