Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic was spotted on the ice on Saturday for the first time since suffering an apparent right knee injury more than two weeks ago. The Sharks are in Nashville, where they will play the Predators later Saturday night.
The club’s most stalwart blueliner has missed the last eight games since getting tangled up with Arizona’s Shane Doan on March 17 with a reported sprained MCL. In 67 games this season, Vlasic has 39 points (8g, 31a) and a plus-15 rating.
The Sharks have posted a 4-4-0 record since the 29-year-old came out of the lineup last month. In those eight games, San Jose has outshot its opponent in seven of them, has gone 8-for-32 on the power play (25.0 percent), and has killed off 19-of-21 opponent power plays (90.5 percent).
[MORNING SKATE: Sharks begin final road trip in Nashville]
Overall, the Sharks are 4-6-1 without Vlasic in the lineup, including three games he missed in December with a lower body injury.
On Thursday, Sharks assistant coach Steve Spott said that Vlasic is expected back for the playoffs, which will likely begin on either April 13 or 14, although the preference is to have him play in at least one of their final two home games on Thursday against Winnipeg or next Saturday against the Coyotes.
“I think if anything he’d like to try and get in before the playoffs if it’s possible, that’s going to be up to the medical team and how Marc-Edouard feels, but I think that’s his goal,” Spott said on Thursday.
“If anything, he’s had a good rest during this time, because we’re going to need him in the playoffs, and that’s the focus right now.”