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Tomas Hertl out for Sharks in Game 3, huge blow to lineup

SAN JOSE, Calif. – The San Jose Sharks will be without their “best player” for Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday night. 

Tomas Hertl, the team’s top-line winger, is out for the Sharks due to a lower body injury. He made a brief appearance at practice on Friday in a track suit, but did not skate with the team.

“He's arguably been our best player through the first two games,” said coach Peter DeBoer. “Injuries are no excuse this time of year.  We have somebody that will go in for him, will roll out there and be ready to play.”

Hertl was the most active member of the team’s top line with Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski, effectively forechecking the Pittsburgh Penguins’ defense and getting chances, to the tune of eight shot attempts in the first two games of the series. He scored a goal in Game 1, and has six goals and five assists for the postseason. Hertl saw two shots ring off the goal cage in Game 2.

DeBoer said there are two options for which player takes Hertl’s spot on the top line. Winger Melker Karlsson skated with them in practice. Veteran forward Dainius Zubrus has also skated in that slot before during the season.

"The one thing with those two guys is, you got a guy that will hound the puck and work for it.  Those two guys pretty much take care of the rest,” said DeBoer. “I think we've got a lot of options there because of who we're sticking them in with. I think it should be fairly seamless.”

Yes, outside of losing what was basically the team’s best forward during the first two games of the series, the transition should be seamless.

What an unfortunately timed blow for the Sharks, down 0-2 in the Final as the action shifts to the Shark Tank. 

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Greg Wyshynski is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter. His book, TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE PUCK, is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.

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