News: Marleau scored the OT winner in Game 3, adding an assist, a plus-2 rating, four shots, and 23:26 of ice time.
Impact: Marleau has scored in all three postseason games thus far, totaling five points, fourth best in the league.
News: Thornton had an assist, two penalty minutes, and played 20:41 in a Game 3 win over LA.
Impact: Thornton has points in five straight, with three of those happening in the postseason. He's been playing as well as he did all season and is even shedding the season-long stigma that he's only good for assists. He has two goals, an assist, and eight shots through the first three games.
Tommy Wingels - #57 - Right Wing - 6'0" - 195lbs
News: Wingels had an assist and nine hits in the Sharks' Game 3 win over LA.
Impact: Wingels is the full package. He can put points on the board (three assists in three games) and never misses a chance to finish his checks. His ceiling may be low, but he has consistently raised that ceiling throughout the season.
News: Hertl had a goal and six shots in a Game 3 win over LA.
Impact: Questions about whether Hertl can bounce back after his injury? Those have been squashed. The rookie has two goals and an assist through three playoff games.
News: Nieto scored on one of two shots in a Game 3 OT win over Los Angeles.
Impact: Nieto has a goal and three assists through three games. He is quickly proving that San Jose has more than one exciting rookie forward on the team.
News: Burns had a goal, two penalty minutes, eight hits, and a team-leading seven shots in Game 3.
Impact: Burns' 16 postseason shots ranks third in the league. He's creating opportunities and is likely to continue to produce. He has two goals and an assist through the first three games.
News: Niemi stopped 28 of 31 shots in a Game 3 win over the Kings.
Impact: Game 3 wasn't Niemi's best outing, but his .902 save percentage got the job done. He has 2.58 GAA and his save percentage is .912. Both of those rank 10th among playoff goaltenders, which isn't ideal. But he is getting the wins.
News: Boyle had an assist, four shots, a minus-1 rating, and 23:35 of ice time in a Game 3 OT win over the Kings.
Impact: Boyle has three assists in the series now and has been logging some big minutes in Round 1.
Harri Sateri - #35 - Goaltender - 6'1" - 205lbs
News: Sateri has been brought up to the NHL, according to Kevin Kurz of CSN Bay Area.
Impact: This is an insurance move, since the Sharks' AHL affiliate in Worcester has come to the end of its season. Antti Niemi, who has won both games in the opening round so far, is still the starter and Alex Stalock is still the backup.
Mon. Apr 21, 2014 | STATS
News: Pavelski matched his career postseason high with three points in a 7-2 victory Sunday over the Los Angeles Kings.
Impact: Pavelski had a goal and two assists while helping the San Jose Sharks rally for a 2-0 lead in the opening-round series. He's had three points in five of his 76 playoff games.
Andrew Desjardins - #10 - Center - 6'1" - 195lbs
News: Desjardins and the Sharks' fourth line jump-started a seven-goal run with a pair of goals, both assisted on by Desjardins, in Sunday's Game 2 win over the Kings.
Impact: Desjardins came into the series with two goals and no assists through 18 career playoff games. His two helpers are a good start, but don't expect a breakout postseason. Desjardins' role is to be a grinder and create energy for his team. Most nights, that's going to come in the form of being a physical presence rather than creating offense.
News: Marleau had a goal and an assist in a 7-2 win over LA in Sunday's Game 2.
Impact: Marleau has goals in back-to-back games and continues to be a clutch player for the Sharks.
News: Torres scored another goal Sunday, kickstarting a seven-goal rally in a Game 2 win over the Kings.
Impact: Torres, who has played seven games this season, has been incredible, netting five goals and two assists in very limited time. It'd be tough to find someone who won't say that Torres should regress to the mean after all, his shooting percentage in this series is 100 percent but analysts have been saying that he'll regress since his first game back from injury this season. Bottom line: He's hot right now.
James Sheppard - #15 - Center - 6'1" - 205lbs
News: Sheppard had an assist, three shots and a plus-2 rating in just 11:07 of playing time in Sunday's Game 2 win over Los Angeles.
Impact: Sheppard, who had been playing third line center throughout his late season surge, was moved back to wing mid-game when coach Todd McLellan returned Joe Pavelski to his previous third-line-center role. Sheppard is strongest on wing, and he has the potential for a lot more production with a 40-goal scorer centering his line. He's playing well already, so if the move sticks, it could be an upgrade for Shep.
Mike Brown - #18 - Right Wing - 5'11" - 205lbs
News: Brown had a goal, a plus-2 rating, eight hits, and 12 penalty minutes in Sunday's Game 2 win over the Kings.
Impact: Brown's offensive production shouldn't be counted on, but in a series that has seen 214 hits through the first two games, you can count on seeing the hits and probably the penalty minutes there with some consistency.
News: Thornton had a goal and three shots in Sunday's Game 2 win over the Kings.
Impact: Thornton has goals in back-to-back games for the Sharks -- a surprising turn from a guy who scored only 11 in the regular season. He also has zero assists in the postseason after tallying 65 over the course of the campaign. Thorny appears to be more willing to put pucks on net come playoff time -- he's averaging 3.5 shots per postseason game, up from 1.5 during the regular season. Everything has flipped around for Thornton, but his fantasy owners sure don't mind.
News: Boyle had two assists, a hit, and three blocked shots in Sunday's Game 2 win over LA.
Impact: Boyle finished the regular season creating offense like you expect him to, so it's good to see him putting points on the board after not registering any in the opening game.
News: Couture had a goal and an assist through 19:06 of ice time in Sunday's Game 2 win over the Kings.
Impact: Couture is putting up points exactly how you hoped he would this postseason, with a goal and two assists through the opening two games. The only area where he's lagging is shot totals; the Sharks have taken 73 shots in the first two games, and only three came from Couture. That's uncharacteristic for a player whose 233 regular-season shots were good for 33rd in the NHL even though he missed 17 games this season. Expect to see that change as the series moves to LA and the Sharks have to lean on their big guns a little more.
News: Hertl had one shot and one hit through 15 minutes of ice time in Sunday's Game 2 win over the Kings.
Impact: Hertl didn't have much of an impact on the scoresheet in Game 2. In fact, he was of only five players on the team who didn't record a point in the 7-2 win. However, it's worth noting that coach Todd McLellan rejiggered the lines in the second period, placing Hertl on Joe Thornton's top line, where he had thrived early in the season before his injury. With Joe Pavelski back on the third line, the Kings won't be able to focus on shutting down the first line, so things may open up for Hertl.
Tommy Wingels - #57 - Right Wing - 6'0" - 195lbs
News: Wingels had an assist, six hits, a blocked shot, two shots on goal and two takeaways in Sunday's Game 2 win over the Kings.
Impact: Wingels breakout season runs through the stat sheet. He's one of those rare wings who is going to score and rack up the hits. He can also pull in stats in niche categories like blocks and takeaways, upping his value in some formats.
News: Vlasic managed to have a minus-1 rating despite a 7-2 win in Sunday's Game 2, but also pulled in three shots, five blocked shots, a hit and a takeaway.
Impact: The opening two games of the postseason could serve as a microcosm of why Vlasic is so important to San Jose (and maybe your team). He has the ability to impact the game offensively, but he's a defensive defenseman who plays a complete defensive game. He's going to block shots, play safe, take the body, and generally pull in some positive numbers one way or another. Depending on your format, Vlasic can be a real value play.
Justin Braun - #61 - Defense - 6'2" - 205lbs
News: Braun netted his first career postseason goal, a game-winner, and went plus-3 in Sunday's Game 2 win over the Kings.
Impact: Braun is averaging just over 20 minutes per game and is plus-5 through the opening two contests. Though he's been an asset on the ice, don't expect much offensive production from Braun; he may get some points, but that's not why he's out there for San Jose. Through his first 17 previous postseason games, he had zero goals and one assist.
News: Nieto bagged a pair of assists in Sunday's Game 1 win over the Kings.
Impact: The rookie winger has played well in the opening games of round one, accumulating three assists and a plus-3 rating. After opening Game 2 in a two-goal deficit, coach Todd McLellan refocused the lineup on scoring depth, moving Joe Pavelski back to third-line center. If the depth chart stays that way, Nieto could be a beneficiary, as the top three lines would be full of offensive potential and tough for the Kings to manage.
News: Niemi stopped 24 of 26 to backstop the Sharks to a win over LA in Game 2.
Impact: Niemi let in two goals early, but turned into a wall as the Sharks rallied from a two-goal deficit to win 7-2. He's been solid so far, posting .912 and .923 save percentages in the first two matches. His next test will be to keep that going on the road.
News: Pavelski scored a goal and added two assists against the Kings in a Game 2 win on Sunday.
Impact: Pavelski has four points in these playoffs after a career-best regular season that saw him score 41 goals and 79 points.
News: With no lineup changes for Game 2, it looks like Havlat will again be a healthy scratch for the Sharks, according to David Pollak of the Mercury News.
Impact: Havlat finished a tough season fairly strong and is likely to be the first forward brought in if a lineup change is necessary. But there's no reason to change anything after a strong Game 1 performance from the Sharks. As long as they keep winning, Havlat may continue to be scratched.
Tyler Kennedy - #81 - Left Wing - 5'11" - 183lbs
News: With the team reporting no lineup changes for Game 2, it looks like Kennedy will be a healthy scratch again, according to David Pollak of the Mercury News.
Impact: Kennedy's season-long struggles are taking precedent over his playoff experience. Kennedy, short of some bad play by a bottom-six forward or an injury, may be hard-pressed to find playing time in Round 1.
News: It's now confirmed that Torres will play for the Sharks in Game 2, according to David Pollak of the Mercury News.
Impact: Torres scored the game-winner in Game 1, his return after some knee soreness. He's barely played this season, but when he has, he's been excellent. The only thing to be wary of is his playing time. The Sharks are being cautious with his knee. They expect a long playoff run and want Torres healthy throughout. With Torres getting under 10 minutes per game, it may be hard for him to keep up the productivity we've seen thus far.
News: Niemi will get the net for Game 2, according to David Pollak of the Mercury News.
Impact: Niemi will get the start after stopping 31 of 34 for the win in Game 1. Expect him to start every game for the Sharks until LA finds a way to expose him. If that happens, there may be a change, as backup Alex Stalock has played well all season.
Fri. Apr 18, 2014 | STATS
News: Hertl made an impressive playoff debut for the San Jose Sharks on Thursday night with a goal and an assist against the same Los Angeles Kings team that almost ended his season.
Impact: With 52 seconds left in the first period Thursday night, Hertl scored his first career playoff goal, giving the Sharks a 2-0 lead en route to a 6-3 victory in Game 1 of their first-round series. Hertl hadn't scored a goal since Dec. 12 against the Minnesota Wild, one week before he took a knee-on-knee hit from Kings captain Dustin Brown, damaging two ligaments. Hertl underwent surgery on Dec. 31 and missed the next 45 games.
Tyler Kennedy - #81 - Left Wing - 5'11" - 183lbs
News: Kennedy was a healthy scratch in Game 1 against the Kings.
Impact: Kennedy has struggled all season, failing to provide the offensive depth the Sharks were looking for. In 67 games, he scored four goals and had 17 total points. While he has good playoff experience, it seems unlikely that Kennedy will get a lot of playing time in what is likely to be a very physical series.
News: Havlat was a healthy scratch in Game 1 for the Sharks.
Impact: Havlat has 21 goals and 31 assists through 74 career playoff games. Solid totals, but the team is looking for the opening-round series against the Kings to be physical and he may get scratched for Mike Brown with some regularity if the series proves as physical as Game 1 did. The teams combined for 121 hits in the opening game.
News: Pavelski had an assist, two shots, and 19:34 of ice time in a Game 1 win over the Kings.
Impact: Don't be surprised to see Pavs contribute almost every night. He's coming off the best regular season performance of his career and has shown he can come up big when it matters. He had four goals and eight assists through 11 games in last year's postseason.
News: Marleau scored on one of two shots and played 19:38 in the Sharks' Game 1 victory over the Kings.
Impact: Marleau tallied eight points in 11 games during last season's playoffs. He has the ability to turn it on when it matters most. Expect more of the same from him this series.
James Sheppard - #15 - Center - 6'1" - 205lbs
News: Sheppard had two assists, two penalty minutes, and a minus-1 rating in Thursday's Game 1 win over Los Angeles.
Impact: Sheppard ended the season as hot as he's been since coming to the Sharks after the 2009-10 season. He proved on Thursday that his production might not be a fluke. In 17 previous postseason tilts he had just one assist and no goals.
Mike Brown - #18 - Right Wing - 5'11" - 205lbs
News: Brown was given the nod over Martin Havlat for Game 1 on Thursday and he responded by getting an assist in the win over the Kings.
Impact: In what is sure to be a very physical series, Brown may get the nod more often than initially expected. He only played 8:57 and it's not likely he'll get more than that when he's in the lineup but added three hits, two penalty minutes, and two blocked shots on top of his assist and single shot.
News: Thornton scored on one of four shots in Thursday's Game 1 match against the Kings.
Impact: Thornton continued an impressive season by repeatedly being a factor in the game. The veteran first line center enters the postseason with 125 games of playoff experience, tallying 22 goals and 75 assists in his playoff career.
News: Vlasic recorded a goal and an assist through 18:50 of ice time in a Game 1 win over the Kings on Thursday.
Impact: Vlasic also added five shots and was a big factor defensively for the Sharks as they took Game 1. It's an impressive start for Vlasic, who has always been a talent, but bloomed this year. In 79 previous playoff games he had one goal and 10 assists.
News: Nieto had an assist and three shots in the Game 1 win over the Kings on Thursday.
Impact: Nieto had an impressive first postseason outing, adding five hits in his playoff debut.
News: Burns had a goal and an assist in a Game 1 win over Los Angeles on Thursday.
Impact: Burns had a great opener, adding five shots and six hits to his two-point night.
News: Torres (knee soreness) scored the game-winning goal in his return to the ice for Thursday's Game 1 against the Kings.
Impact: It was hardly a climactic game-winner, as it gave the Sharks a 4-0 lead in a game they would ultimately win 6-3. Torres was also quite active defensively, logging a team-high seven hits in his 8:42 of ice time.
News: Hertl scored a goal and added an assist Thursday against the Kings in his first-ever NHL playoff game. He went minus-1 and put five shots on goal.
Impact: A heck of a debut for Hertl, who skated just 12:15 in the contest. If he keeps going like this, he's going to have to be bumped up into the top six, and soon.
News: Niemi was named the starter for Thursday's Game 1 against the Kings, Kevin Kurz of CSN Bay Area reports.
Impact: Coach Todd McLellan declined to name his starting goalie at Wednesday's practice, but as expected, Niemi was the first off the ice at Thursday's morning skate and will get the nod. Despite the emergence of Alex Stalock as one of the NHL's better backups this season, Niemi has put together another nice season for the Sharks. He carries a 39-17-7 record, 2.39 GAA and .913 save percentage into Thursday's contest.
News: Torres (knee soreness) will play in Thursday's Game 1 against the Kings, Kevin Kurz of CSN Bay Area reports.
Impact: After missing the first five months of the regular season following knee surgery, Torres only played in five games out of the Olympic break before soreness in the knee resurfaced. After taking the rest of the regular season to rest up, he increased his activity this week and looks set to play on the fourth line Thursday.
Wed. Apr 16, 2014 | RotoWire
News: While the Sharks have not named their starting goalie for Thursday's playoff opener against the Kings, Kevin Kurz of CSNBayArea.com suggests that Niemi is probably the better bet to get the nod.
Impact: The report points out that Niemi -- who started five of the Sharks' last six games -- worked during special teams practice Wednesday, during which time fellow goalie Alex Stalock worked with some of the team's the lower profile players. We'll seek additional clarity on the situation after Thursday's morning skate.
News: Nieto has been recalled by the Sharks in advance of their playoff series with the Kings, CSN Bay Area's Kevin Kurz reports.
Impact: Nieto skated on the second line at Tuesday's practice, alongside Patrick Marleau and Logan Couture. He's shown some promise during his 66-game stint with the Sharks this season, scoring 10 goals and adding 14 assists.
News: Niemi is not yet sure who will be between the pipes for the Sharks in Game 1 of their series with the Kings, according to CSN Bay Area.
Impact: It appears that we're not the only ones in the dark about whom coach Todd McLellan will choose to start. Neither Niemi or Alex Stalock have been notified, and no one expects to know until Thursday after morning skate.
News: Torres will be a game-time decision for Game 1 of the Sharks' series with the Kings, according to David Pollak of the San Jose Mercury News.
Impact: Torres said he was feeling better at Tuesday's practice, but neither he nor coach Todd McLellan would tip their hand on his status for Thursday's game.
News: After practicing at full speed Monday, Hannan (upper body) said he'll be available for Game 1 of the Sharks' first-round playoff series against the Kings, Curtis Pashelka of the San Jose Mercury News reports.
Impact: Hannan took a hit to the head in Friday's game against the Avalanche and was quickly ruled out of Saturday's regular-season finale against the Coyotes. Though he practiced fully Monday, it wasn't as a part of one of the Sharks' top three defensive pairings, a sign he could be a scratch for Game 1.
News: Hannan returned to practice on Monday, after missing Saturday's game with an upper body injury, according to Kevin Kurz of CSN Bay Area.
Impact: No word on whether he'll be available for Game 1 of the Sharks' playoff series, but he's practicing as though he will be.
Matt Tennyson - #80 - Defense - 6'2" - 205lbs
News: Tennyson has been recalled by the Sharks on Monday.
Impact: Tennyson has seven goals and 14 assists for AHL Worcester this season. He made four appearance in the NHL last season, but did not appear in the 2013-14 season.
News: Hertl returned from injury for the final two games of the season.
Impact: That's big for the Sharks and gives fantasy owners a nice dark horse for some playoff productivity. However, Hertl didn't do much in his first two games back -- he had no points and four shots in those games while playing more than 15 minutes per game. It's tough to know how he'll perform in his first playoff appearance, as Hertl's a rookie and has been out most of the season -- though he's certainly shown he has the potential to be an impact player.
Sun. Apr 13, 2014 | STATS
News: Pavelski capped his season with his ninth multigoal performance, scoring his 40th and 41st goals in Saturday's win over Phoenix.
Impact: Pavelski, who finished with a career-best 79 points to lead the Sharks, entered 2013-14 with 19 multigoal games over seven seasons.
Sun. Apr 13, 2014 | STATS
News: Hannan played 17 minutes in his return for the Game 1 of the playoffs Thursday.
Impact: Hannan's status for the postseason had been uncertain after taking a hard hit late in the regular season.
News: Torres, who has been out with soreness in his surgically repaired knee since March 8, could be ready to go for Game 1 against the Kings, according to the San Jose Mercury News.
Impact: This would be big for the Sharks, who could use the size against a tough LA team. Torres played in just five games this season, but did total three goals and two assists in very limited playing time. If healthy, he could be a factor in the first round of the playoffs.
News: Burns had an assist in Saturday's season finale against the Coyotes.
Impact: That caps off a career year for Burns, who finished with career-high totals in goals (22), points (48), plus-minus (plus-26) and shots (245). He's likely a forward for good, and expectations for next season should be adjusted. He'll be looking to buck a history of mild playoff performances this coming week.
News: Niemi finished the regular season by stopping 30 of 32 Phoenix shots in a win on Saturday.
Impact: A good way to end the season for Niemi, who has struggled in stretches this season, leaving some question as to who the Sharks would start in net for the playoffs. Despite strong play from rookie Alex Stalock, it's likely to be Niemi's net to lose. Though coach McLellan did say: "We think we have two goaltenders who can play. We'll be prepared to use both of them if we need to."
News: Boyle picked up two assists in Saturday's win over Phoenix. He ended the season with at least one point in eight of his last 10 games and nine points (four goals, five assists) in that span.
Impact: That late-season push brought his season total to 36 points, one of his lowest full-season totals of his career. He's 37 and on the downside of his career, but he'll be instrumental to the Sharks' success this postseason. Just don't overestimate his value for the 2014-15 draft.
News: Pavelski scored two goals in Saturday's win over Phoenix. He finished the season with new career marks in goals (41), points (79) and plus-minus (plus-23).
Impact: Wow, wow, WOW. Little Joe has put the Sharks on his back this season and in doing so became just the fourth player in Sharks' history to hit the 40-goal mark.
News: Hannan (upper body) is out for Saturday's game against the Coyotes, David Pollak of the San Jose Mercury News reports.
Impact: Hannan suffered the injury during Friday's game, and it's unclear whether he's expected to be ready for the first game of the playoffs.
News: Marleau had a goal and two assists in Friday's 5-1 win over Colorado.
Impact: Marleau's 70 points are his most since posting 73 in 2010-11.
News: Havlat recorded his first hat trick in nearly nine years, and the San Jose Sharks prevented Colorado from clinching the Central Division title with a 5-1 victory over the Avalanche on Friday night.
Impact: Havlat finished with a career high-tying four points. He has just 22 in 47 games on the season.
News: Stalock made 32 saves in Friday's 5-1 win over Colorado.
Impact: Stalock went 4-1-1 with a 1.30 GAA at home this season.
News: Niemi will be in net for the Sharks on Saturday, David Pollak of the San Jose Mercury News reports.
Impact: Niemi will take his usual spot in net for the season finale. The netminder has been struggling as of late, recording a save percentage below .900 in four of the past five contests, but will look to turn things around Saturday for the Sharks' playoff run.
Bracken Kearns - #38 - Center - 6'0" - 195lbs
News: Kearns had an assist and no shots through 12:35 of ice time in Friday's win over the Avalanche.
Impact: That's his first point since being recalled this time and ends a 15-game pointless streak for Kearns.
News: Marleau had a goal and an assist in Friday's 5-1 demolition of the Avalanche.
Impact: Marleau finished with a plus-3 rating on the night and was credited with the game-winning goal, his fourth of the season. Even though Marleau and center Logan Couture had to reintegrate Tomas Hertl back on their line Friday after he returned from a four-month absence, the transition proved to be seamless.
News: Couture dished out three assists and finished with a plus-4 rating in Friday's 5-1 romp over the Avalanche.
Impact: The three assists and plus-4 rating tied Couture's previous season-best in both categories. He's supplied three goals and three assists in his last seven games and should continue to remain an excellent source of points with Tomas Hertl (knee) returning to action Friday on his second line.
News: Stalock recorded his 12th win of the season Friday, as the Sharks dominated the Avs at SAP Center, 5-1
Impact: After playing in just three NHL games in the last four years, Stalock has proved to be a capable backup to workhorse Antti Niemi in 2013-14. The 2005 fourth-round pick now has a respectable 12-5-2 record to go along with a .932 GAA and solid 1.87 save percentage this season, and he's definitely instilled confidence into the Sharks' brass to use him should Niemi falter in the playoffs.
News: Boyle scored his 12th goal of the season in Friday's 5-1 rout of the visiting Avalanche.
Impact: After frustrating fantasy owners to no end by failing to find the back of the net in 29 straight contests, Boyle has turned things around with four goals in his last seven games. The 37-year-old's 34 points and minus-9 rating are his worst in five full seasons with the Sharks, but he's looked much better of late after playing through a thumb injury earlier in the year.
News: Havlat scored three third-period goals in a 9:38 span Friday, as San Jose routed the Avs 5-1 at the Shark Tank.
Impact: The former 77-point Czech has been a colossal bust since donning the teal, white and black, managing just 66 points in 126 games for the Sharks. However, his sixth-career hat trick gives him 12 goals on the season -- the most since 2010-11 when he banged home 22 with Minnesota -- and serves as a reminder for the Kings in Round 1 of the playoffs as to what the 32-year-old is capable of. Like any late-season flash of offensive upside, go ahead and file Marty's performance away for the later rounds of next year's draft. If he manages to stay healthy and gets an assignment with some decent linemates, he has the pedigree to turn heads.
News: Hannan left Friday's game against the Avalanche with an apparent injury, Kevin Kurz of CSNBayArea.com reports.
Impact: Hannan appeared to take a high hit from Colorado's Patrick Bordeleau in the first period and didn't come out for the second. The defenseman previously dealt with a concussion a few months ago, and it's very possible he may have sustained another blow to the head. We should find out more about his status heading into the playoffs.
News: Nieto was reassigned to ECHL Ontario on Friday, Kevin Kurz of CSNBayArea.com reports.
Impact: It sounds like Nieto was simply reassigned to facilitate roster space for Tomas Hertl's (knee) return from injured reserve. Though Nieto won't be available for Saturday's regular season finale, he'll rejoin the Sharks for the playoffs.
News: Vlasic will not play in Friday's game.
Impact: It sounds like Vlasic will get a rest to head into the playoffs ready to go.
News: Stalock will start on Friday for the Sharks, according to David Pollak of the Mercury News.
Impact: Stalock came into Thursday's game to relieve Antti Niemi, who has a save percentage of under .900 in four of his last five games. No indication whether this start has ramifications outside of just this one game for the goaltending situation in San Jose.
News: Hertl (knee) will play in Friday's game against the Avalanche, CSN Bay Area reports.
Impact: Hertl has been sidelined since Dec. 19, but he was medically cleared by two doctors to resume playing, and he will take the ice Friday night. Hertl's return should give a slumping Sharks offense a boost, as he tallied 15 goals and 10 assists in 35 games earlier this season.
News: Hertl (knee) could return to the lineup for one of the final two regular season games, Kevin Kurz of CSN Bay Area reports.
Impact: Hertl set the league abuzz in his third career game with a four-goal performance against the Rangers, and was viewed as the frontrunner for the Calder Trophy before suffering what was thought to be a season-ending knee injury in December. The 20-year-old has recovered faster than expected, resuming skating in late February and returning to practice last week. He'll need final medical approval before suiting up in any games over the weekend, but he's at least expected to be available for the start of the Sharks' playoff series next week with the Kings. While Hertl's extended absence may force him to settle for limited minutes initially upon returning, his return undoubtedly provides an offensive boost for San Jose.
Jason Demers - #5 - Defense - 6'1" - 195lbs
News: Demers scored the opening goal in Wednesday's loss to Anaheim.
Impact: That's his fifth goal of the year, a career best. He's also hit career highs in assists, points and PIM, and is likely to set a high mark in shots as well. He's not Erik Karlsson suddenly, but it's time to adjust your expectations for Demers for next season.
News: Couture scored his 22nd goal of the year in Wednesday's loss to Anaheim.
Impact: Couture has had a streaky year plagued by injury and an 11-game goal drought in December. He's had hot streaks too, but he hasn't found that next gear at the end of the season. He has a modest three goals in the last 10 games.
News: Pavelski had an assist and four shots during 22:49 of ice time in a loss to Anaheim on Wednesday.
Impact: It wasn't a banner night for Pavs, but he continues to accumulate points. His 77 on the season are eighth-best in the league. Over the last seven games, Pavelski has five goals and five assists.
Justin Braun - #61 - Defense - 6'2" - 205lbs
News: Braun had five hits and four blocked shots through 18:09 of ice time in Wednesday's loss to the Ducks.
Impact: Braun has been inconsistent most of the season, but he can play a good physical game and is never scared to put his body in front of the shot.
News: Niemi was pulled halfway through Wednesday's game after letting in three goals on 19 shots against Anaheim.
Impact: With the loss, the Sharks allowed Anaheim to clinch the Pacific Division. Niemi has now finished with a save percentage under .900 in four of the last five games. The Sharks are still finding ways to win, but Niemi is trending in the wrong direction.
News: Stalock stopped nine of 10 after coming in to relieve Antti Niemi in Wednesday's loss to Anaheim.
Impact: If you had Stalock in your lineup, you got a nice boost from him playing 30:10 of Wednesday's game, but don't bet on seeing much of him again until next season. That is, unless Niemi collapses completely or suffers an injury.