The road has not been kind to the Sharks this season.

And now San Jose will try to reverse that trend with an added challenge, as the team's top six forwards have been reduced to a familiar four plus two relatively new faces in unfamiliar settings.

With Marty Havlat sidelined by a lower body injury, the Sharks recalled Bracken Kearns, a 31-year-old career minor leaguer with five games of NHL experience, from Worcester on Monday. Though the lines were not fully set, expect to see him and Tim Kennedy sharing the ice with the four San Jose forwards who have produced the bulk of the team's goals this season -- Patrick Marleau, Logan Couture, Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski.

"Just practicing with those guys, you have to elevate your game to keep up with them," said Kearns, a Vancouver native who will be playing in his first NHL game in his hometown Tuesday night when the Sharks face the Canucks. "If they're putting me in that role, it means their expectations are high for me, and you want that as a player."

The obvious thing to do without Havlat in the lineup would have been to return Ryane Clowe to one of the top two lines, though he has yet to score a goal this season while accumulating six assists. But coach Todd McLellan said he liked what he saw last game from a third line of Clowe, Scott Gomez and James Sheppard.