Havlat Back in Sharks Lineup for Game 3
SAN JOSE, California -- Just minutes after the San Jose Sharks' morning skate ended Saturday, coach Todd McLellan got the news he had been waiting for regarding injured forward Martin Havlat.
"He came to see me and said he's ready to go," McLellan said. "So we'll find a spot for him."
The Sharks trail the Los Angeles Kings 2-0 in their Western Conference Semifinal series heading into Game 3 Saturday (9 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS). Assuming Havlat returns to the lineup -- at one point McLellan said there's "a good chance he'll play" -- the Sharks' lines will have a new look when the series resumes here at HP Pavilion.
Havlat has been out with a lower-body injury since midway through the first period of Game 1 of the Sharks' Western Conference Quarterfinal series against the Vancouver Canucks.
"We have to really sit down now and discuss how we're going to put things together," McLellan said.
Havlat had been a top-six forward, skating with center Logan Couture and Patrick Marleau. But Joe Pavelski skated on that line in Game 2 when the Sharks scored three goals, and McLellan might want to leave him there and slot Havlat on the third line with center Scott Gomez.
"His experience is important," McLellan said of Havlat. "He's played a number of games at the playoff level. He's an older player. He's been through it a lot."
What is McLellan looking for from Havlat?
"I want a good, hard, honest effort from Marty," he said. "I want him to bring his 'A' game. I want him to compete hard all over the rink and make a difference. You could ask me about 19 other players that are going to dress and I'd tell you the exact same thing."
The Kings aren't standing pat, either. Rookie Tanner Pearson was on the fourth line during the morning skate and will make his NHL debut in Game 3 unless the team goes with seven defensemen and 11 forwards, coach Darryl Sutter said. Either way, fourth-line left wing Jordan Nolan appears to be a scratch.
Pearson, 20, played 64 games for the Manchester Monarchs of the American Hockey League this season, totaling 19 goals and 28 assists.
"I was coming up to be a 'Black Ace,' just expecting to skate with them," Pearson, the team's 2012 first-round draft pick, said. "I guess anything can happen. We'll see what happens [Saturday]."
Sutter hasn't been shy about throwing a young player into his lineup when he's "earned the right" with strong play.
"Give them their opportunity and see how they play," Sutter said.
During the morning skate, rookie Tyler Toffoli moved from right wing on the fourth line to the third line. Trevor Lewis moved from right wing to center on the third line, bumping Brad Richardson to right wing on the fourth line. Colin Fraser centered the fourth line, between Pearson and Richardson.
In another Kings switch, defenseman Keaton Ellerby replaced Alec Martinez and was paired with Jake Muzzin.
Here's how the lineups could look Saturday:
Suspended: Raffi Torres
Dustin Brown - Anze Kopitar - Justin Williams
Dwight King - Mike Richards - Jeff Carter
Dustin Penner - Trevor Lewis - Tyler Toffoli
Tanner Pearson - Colin Fraser - Brad Richardson
Robyn Regehr - Drew Doughty
Rob Scuderi - Slava Voynov
Jake Muzzin - Keaton Ellerby
Scratched: Matt Greene, Jordan Nolan, Alec Martinez
Injured: Jarret Stoll (undisclosed), Kyle Clifford (undisclosed), Willie Mitchell (knee)