The Sharks will be without Tomas Hertl for Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Penguins on Saturday night at SAP Center.
Head coach Peter DeBoer said Hertl has a lower body injury. He did not practice with the team on Friday.
“Next man up for us. He’s arguably been our best the player the first two games. Injuries are no excuse this time of year. Someone will go in for him. We’ll go out there and get ready to play.”
The 22-year-old forward has been a force this postseason for the Sharks, with six goals and five assists in 20 games. He scored the franchise’s first ever goal in Stanley Cup Final in the second period of Game 1.
Still, DeBoer expects Hertl’s replacement to pick up where he left off.
“The one thing with [Karlsson or Zubrus] is that they will hound the puck and work for it. I think we’ve got a lot of options there. It should be fairly seemless.”
The Sharks trail 2-0 in the best-of-seven series, making Games 3 and 4 at SAP Center pivotal to claw their way back into the picture.
But DeBoer isn’t worried about the composure of this team, a mixture of veterans and youngsters:
“If you’ve seen our group, they tend to keep each other pretty loose. They know when to dial in and be ready to play and when to relax. If you watch them around the rink, you watch the soccer games and the way they interact with each other. You wouldn’t know Game 3 of the Stanley Cup [Final] is the situation we’re in, and that’s a good sign.”
Puck drop is at 5 p.m. PST on Saturday.
DeBoer remembers Muhammad Ali
At the end of his press conference Saturday morning, DeBoer shared his story of meeting the late boxing icon — who passed away on Friday evening — while attending his prom as a 17-year-old at the Royal Connaught Hotel in Hamilton, Ontario.
Ali also happened to be there for an event, and DeBoer asked a member of his entourage if he could meet Ali. Five minutes later, he and his friends were up in Ali’s room:
“He got out a Koran for each of us. He wasn’t preaching or trying to convert us. It was an unbelievable life experience for me. Considering the circumstances and how this transcended the sport and how many people he touched, it was an appropriate story to tell.”