SAN JOSE — Joe Pavelski is doubtful for the San Jose Sharks for Game 1 of the Western Conference Second Round against the Colorado Avalanche at SAP Center on Friday (10 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, CBC, TVAS).
Pavelski is day to day with an undisclosed injury sustained during the third period of Game 7 of the first round against the Vegas Golden Knights. He was cross-checked by Cody Eakin and then ran into by Paul Stastny, which knocked an off-balance Pavelski to the ice. Pavelski hit his head and had to be helped off the ice.
“I don’t think he is going to play tomorrow,” Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said after practice Thursday. “It could have been worse. You could have been dealing with a fractured skull or something like that. Thankfully we weren’t, but he’s definitely feeling the effects of it.”
Pavelski, who led the Sharks in the regular season with 38 goals, has four points (two goals, two assists) in seven playoff games.
He sustained a jaw injury and lost several teeth in Game 1 after being hit in the mouth by a Brent Burns shot (Pavelski was credited with a goal), but only missed a few shifts before returning with a face shield.
“We’re going to need guys to step into the lineup here and help out,” forward Logan Couture said. “Those guys aren’t easy to replace, but we’re going to need other guys to step up and play bigger minutes and contribute to our team if we are going to be successful.”
Pavelski had eight points (two goals, six assists) in 10 playoff games last season, and 23 points (14 goals, nine assists) to help San Jose reach the Stanley Cup Final in 2016, when they lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games.
“I saw him yesterday and a couple of guys have talked to him and whatnot,” defenseman Brenden Dillon said. “He’s been in here a little bit today. Just a tough situation where we are glad to see that he’s OK.”
Forward Joonas Donskoi, who missed Game 7 against the Golden Knights with an undisclosed injury, also could miss Game 1 against the Avalanche. He skated in a non-contact jersey Thursday. Forward Melker Karlsson, who played in all seven games in the first round, didn’t skate.
“That’s playoff hockey,” DeBoer said. “If you’re going to go on any kind of run you’re going to have to use everybody at some point or another. We’re confident in the guys we have here. Some of the guys have only played 15-20 games, 10 games, whatever, but the guys that we have available to us, we have confidence in that whoever is out there is going to get it done.”
Forward Dylan Gambrell, who had no points in eight games with the Sharks this season and 45 points (20 goals, 25 assists) in 51 games with San Jose of the American Hockey League, could make his Stanley Cup Playoff debut. The 22-year-old center has four points (one goal, three assists) in four Calder Cup Playoff games this season.
“Every team goes through their injury bugs and it’s a time for different guys who haven’t played all year to step up and show their worth,” forward Joe Thornton said. “I’m excited for the guys that get to be put in that position.”