2019 NHL Playoffs: Erik Karlsson, Tomas Hertl out for Sharks in must-win Game 6
The Sharks are extremely banged up heading into a potential elimination game
The San Jose Sharks will attempt to salvage their season without two of their best players in the lineup on Tuesday night.
Sharks head coach Pete DeBoer announced Tuesday afternoon that both Erik Karlsson and Tomas Hertl didn't travel with the team to St Louis, meaning both would be out of the lineup against the Blues in Game 6. DeBoer said that Joe Pavelski would also be a game-time decision.
That's extremely bad news for the Sharks, who have lost two games in a row and trail 3-2 in the series. They'll need a win on the road to force a Game 7 back in San Jose later this week, but Karlsson and Hertl have been two of their most important players this postseason.
Karlsson, a former Norris-winner, has dealt with lingering health issues throughout this season and the playoffs. He appeared to re-aggravate a groin ailment at some point during this series and it has significantly limited him over the past few games. Karlsson missed a large chunk of action in the third period of Game 4, then played just 10:32 through the first two periods of Game 5 before sitting out the entire third.
The defenseman was averaging 25:32 of TOI prior to Game 5 and had been a key facilitator on the San Jose blue line, picking up 16 points (two goals and 14 assists) in 18 games.
Hertl suffered an apparent head injury following a high hit from Blues forward Ivan Barbashev in Game 5, missing the entire third period after the blow.
He has been one of the Sharks' most important forwards up front, averaging over 22 minutes of ice time prior to Game 5 and recording 15 points (10 goals and five assists) in 18 games. He's also a major special teams piece, working on the Sharks' top power play and penalty killing units.
Pavelski's status is up in the air due to an undisclosed injury.
At this point, things look pretty dire for a Sharks team that needs to take two straight wins if they want to punch their ticket to the Stanley Cup Final. They've been frustrated and shut down by a thriving, physical Blues team over the past few games, scoring just one goal over the last 120 minutes of the series.
Without at least two of their best players in the lineup on the road Tuesday, the odds will be stacked against them.
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