There was a notable change in lines as the Sharks continued their preparation for the Los Angeles Kings. Rookie Tomas Hertl was reunited with the Joe Thornton-Brent Burns line, while Joe Pavelski took rushes as the third line center between Tommy Wingels and Martly Havlat. McLellan offered some insight on the thought process regarding the role Pavelski will play. Pavelski finished as one of just three 40-goal scorers in the NHL this season while skating primarily on Thornton’s wing for the second half of the season, after Hertl went down with a knee injury. “The debate isn’t a raging one in the coaches’ locker room. We feel equally comfortable going either way,” said the coach. “The wild card is Tomas, and making sure that he’s capable of handling minutes against the other team’s key players, and [Raffi Torres’] potential return to the lineup. A lot of that will dictate which way we’ll go.” The versatile Pavelski indicated his position doesn’t much matter to him. “I feel like a centerman most of the time, even when I’m on wing,” he said. “There’s a few things to do, but preparation doesn’t change that much.” Regardless of how things look in Game 1, changes can and likely will be made at a moment’s notice. One bad game, period, or even a shift can result in a head coach altering his original plans. “You win a few games, things usually stay the same. You lose a few, there’s always changes and adjustments to be made.” Pavelski said. Pavelski has shown he can produce in either role, after he started the season playing between Wingels and Matt Nieto on a strong third line that showcased the Sharks’ depth. That depth took a hit, though, when Hertl was injured. The rookie returned for the final two games of the regular season and is expected in the lineup on Thursday.
Pavelski's role for playoffs uncertain for Sharks
CSN Bay Area | Apr 16