Tomas Hertl is out with a lower-body injury will not play in Game 3 tonight. Hertl has been a key contributor on the San Jose Sharks top line throughout the post-season and was one of the few Sharks making an impact in the Stanley Cup Final against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
DeBoer said Hertl has arguably been #SJSharks best player. But says attitude has to be basically next man up
— Curtis Pashelka (@CurtisPashelka) June 4, 2016
Sharks Game 3: Changes Coming
The Sharks have been fortunate to maintain a healthy line-up over the past seven weeks of playoff hockey. Matthew Nieto has been the only Shark to miss games due to injury, but the loss of Hertl on a top line that has been skating together for the entire post-season will be much harder to mask.
DeBoer started shuffling the Sharks forward lines in the latter stages of Game 2 before the Sharks lost in overtime. Further tinkering with the forward lines will now be required as the Sharks continue to look for a way to contend with the Penguins team speed.
Dainius Zubrus could slot back into the line-up as the head coach shuffles his wingers or as pointed out yesterday, the Sharks could elect to go with seven defensemen. Roman Polak and Brenden Dillon have struggled against Pittsburgh’s speed, and Dylan DeMelo might be a viable option with the loss of Hertl allowing DeBoer the opportunity to try something new on the blue line.
There is no way to sugarcoat the loss of Hertl. Replacing his skill set will be impossible with only Zubrus and members of the Black Aces available. Finding themselves down 2-0 in the Stanley Cup Final, it will be interesting to see how the Sharks respond to the loss of a star player.