SAN JOSE – Marty Havlat’s return to the Sharks’ lineup lasted less than one period.
The winger, who had been out since Game 1 of the first round on May 1 with a lower body injury, told head coach Todd McLellan he was good to go before Game 3 against the Kings on Saturday night.
Havlat played all of six shifts for less than five minutes of ice time. His absence, combined with Logan Couture’s brief departure when he limped off after hurting his left leg four minutes into the second period, made things complicated for the coaching staff as the Sharks tried to avoid losing their third straight game to the Kings.
McLellan has ruled out Havlat for Game 4, and it’s probably a safe bet that the 32-year-old won’t play the rest of the series. The Sharks' injured and scratched players skated on Sunday, but Havlat was not among them.
Is there a frustration level with Havlat not being able to stay in the lineup?
“If you’re hurt and you can’t play, you can’t play,” McLellan said. “You can be as frustrated as you want because we had to juggle the lineup, but we talked about the difference between being injured and hurt. He’s injured.”
Earlier in his media availability on Sunday, McLellan mentioned he wasn’t surprised to see Couture return after he limped to the dressing room in the second period.
To be clear, McLellan was not comparing Couture and Havlat, but simply addressing Couture’s ability to come back.
“I think there’s a difference between being injured and hurt. You look at a [Anze] Kopitar (who got hit with a puck in the face in Game 2), you look at a Logan, they were hurt in those games and they know how much they mean to their team and they find a way to come back, and it gives their team a boost. Logan has been able to do that throughout his career, knock on wood.
“An injury is a different scenario for any type for athlete. When you’re injured, you’re injured and you can’t play. There’s a lot of heroes who have played different sports hurt. Two of the leaders on both of the teams did that in back-to-back games in the series.”
Couture, who told CSNCalifornia.com on Saturday after the game that he knew he would return at some point in Game 3, was asked if there was any added responsibility to return as one of the team’s leaders.
"I don't know if that has anything to do with being one of the leaders,” he said. “I hope every player on this team would play through injuries and do whatever they can to help us win. It's what hockey players do. You know what you're playing for.
“I don't want to let anyone (down) and I know no one in this room wants to let anyone down. So, play through whatever you can to help the team."
Havlat was spotted leaving the Sharks’ dressing room approximately 10 minutes after the game ended. Couture was unavailable to the media, presumably getting treatment. He had a pronounced limp when he was seen about 45 minutes after the game, but looked to be walking better on Sunday.