SAN JOSE – As of Monday morning, there was no word whether Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic would be able to play this week in the club’s back-to-back road games in Calgary and Edmonton. According to a source, Vlasic’s injury isn’t a serious one, and he should be considered day-to-day with a lower body injury.
Just like Paul Martin and Justin Braun before him, the Sharks need Vlasic back as soon as possible. After Saturday’s 4-3 loss to the Lightning, San Jose fell to 1-5 when missing one of its regular blueliners on the top two pairs, getting outscored 25-14 in the process.
They are 0-3 without Martin and 1-1 minus Braun, beating only lowly Calgary.
Pete DeBoer, though, didn’t seem displeased with his defense after Saturday's loss. The Sharks, alter all, allowed just 20 shots on goal to a talented Lightning offense. On the third pair, Matt Tennyson played 11 minutes and scored a power play goal, his first of the season, while AHL recall Micro Mueller skated for 7:29.
“I thought we did alright. I thought Tenny and Mueller gave us some good minutes and the other four guys stepped up,” DeBoer said. “They’ve got a lot of speed and talent over there, and we hold them to 20 shots. I thought it was a pretty good effort by our group and the defensemen back there.”
Brent Burns skated 32 minutes, a new high in a Sharks jersey for the 30-year-old. Nearly nine minutes of that came on the power play, where the Sharks were 3-for-8. Burns didn’t look very good on Nikita Kucherov’s first period goal, pirouetting in the slot while Kucherov breezed around him, but had a remarkable power play goal in the third period to bring the Sharks back to within 4-3.
Braun, Vlasic’s partner, had the primary assist on Tennyson’s goal, but finished a -1 when he got caught out of position trying to sort out a rush on Kucherov’s second goal in the middle frame. He was paired with Brenden Dillon.
“I thought we did a decent job. Big shoes to fill,” Braun said of the Sharks’ defense without Vlasic. “Mirco and Tenny did a good job, and Dills is a good partner to have out there. I thought we did a pretty good job back there. Four goals isn’t great, but a couple fluky ones.”
The Sharks will resume practice on Monday, and will later fly to Calgary where they play the Flames on Tuesday. A game against former coach Todd McLellan in Edmonton looms on Wednesday.