San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson and forward Tomas Hertl did not travel with the team to St. Louis for Game 6 against the Blues on Tuesday night, while captain Joe Pavelski was ruled out shortly before the game.
May 17, 2019; St. Louis, MO, USA; San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson (65) awaits the face-off against the St. Louis Blues in the third period during game four of the Western Conference Final of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Enterprise Center. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Head coach Pete DeBoer had said earlier that Pavelski was a game-time decision. Dylan Gambrell, Tim Heed and Marcus Sorensen were inserted into the lineup.
None of the three injured players finished Sunday’s 5-0 loss to the Blues in Game 5, with Hertl and Pavelski leaving after high hits during the game, and Karlsson playing just 10:32 before departing with an injury that kept him out of parts of Game 4 on Friday.
San Jose is fighting to stay alive in the Western Conference finals after falling behind 3-2 in the series. The Sharks need a victory to force Game 7, which would be held Thursday back in San Jose.
“We know the importance of them, I mean obviously all three of those guys are important guys,” DeBoer told reporters of the injured trio. “If we have ‘em, great. If we don’t, then next man up, and we’ve got to find a way to get the job done.”
Karlsson’s injury is believed to be an aggravation of the groin issue that plagued him late in the regular season. He tried to fight through it in Game 5 but did not look like himself.
Hertl was hit in the head on a first-period check from Ivan Barbashev, a hit that DeBoer argued could have been a five-minute major penalty, but no call was made. Hertl did not play in the third period.
Pavelski, who missed six games in the second round of the playoffs due to a head injury, was hit high by Alex Pietrangelo early in the third period and did not return.
Karlsson has 16 points in 19 postseason games, tied for third among all players, while Hertl has 15, including 10 goals. Pavelski has four goals and five assists in 13 games.
—Field Level Media