SAN JOSE – Sharks forward Tomas Hertl will miss Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday with a lower body injury, coach Pete DeBoer confirmed in the morning.
“He’s out tonight. Next man up for us,” DeBoer said. “He’s arguably been maybe our best player through the first two games. Injuries are no excuse this time of year, we’ve got someone that will go in for him and we’ll roll out there and be ready to play.”
On Friday at practice, Melker Karlsson took Hertl’s spot on the left wing of the Joe Thornton-Joe Pavelski line. Karlsson or Dainius Zubrus, a healthy scratch in Game 2, is expected to play in Hertl’s position.
“I think the one thing with those two guys, you’ve got a guy that will hound the puck and work for it,” DeBoer said. "[Thornton and Pavelski] pretty much take care of the rest. I think we’ve got a lot of options because of who we’re sticking them in with. I think it should be fairly seamless.”
Hertl scored a power play goal in Game 1, and hit three posts in Game 2 as the Sharks’ most effective forward. In 20 playoff games, he has 11 points (6g, 5a) and a plus-eight rating, best among Sharks forwards.
“He’s been a big part of this team, especially the second half,” Pavelski said. “You saw the smile on his face the last few rounds, he’s really enjoyed playing. He brings that energy.
“It’s tough to miss a guy like that if you have to, but somebody steps in. … We still expect a good effort from whoever comes in. We haven’t had a ton of injuries, so there’s been somebody ready to step in.”
Penguins defenseman Ian Cole was highly complimentary of the 22-year-old Hertl’s game.
“I think he’s good at everything. He’s maybe not the best in the league at one particular thing, but he’s really, really good at everything,” Cole said.
“He’s got great speed, he’s strong, he takes pucks to the net, he’s got an outside shot, as well. When you have a guy that is that good at everything you need to be very aware when he’s out there, for sure.”
The Sharks trail the Stanley Cup Final, two-games-to-none. Game 3 is set for Saturday evening at SAP Center (5 p.m., NBCSN).