Erik Karlsson is done for the season. Brenden Dillon now plays for the Washington Capitals. Jacob Middleton went down with what looked to be a gruesome lower-body injury in the Sharks' win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday, and fellow rookie defenseman Mario Ferraro was ruled out of both of San Jose's games this weekend with the same injury description.
Yeah, it would be fair to say the Sharks' defensive corps has taken a beating over the last month.
San Jose's depth in the back end has been tested due to the quick succession of departures from the lineup. Nikolai Knyzhov was thrown into the fire in making his NHL debut in Saturday's 2-1 overtime loss to the Ottawa Senators, in which he was paired up with Brandon Davidson, who was making just his second appearance with the Sharks after being acquired at the trade deadline.
With some new faces on the blue line, interim coach Bob Boughner relied on his veterans even more than usual, and none more so than Brent Burns. After playing nearly 13 minutes in the first period of Saturday's game, he finished with 31:35 minutes of ice time -- the most he has played in a game since Dec. 13, 2016.
Burns' heavy load was simply the result of the predicament the Sharks currently find themselves in.
"We don't really have any choice, with Mario out and [Middleton] out," Boughner said after Saturday's loss. "I thought that Knyzhov played a pretty good game tonight for his first game in the NHL. We know we're playing Burns heavy minutes and the big three or four guys there heavy minutes, but it is what it is."
After the game, Burns was no worse for wear, and even seemed excited by the reward he earned for himself.
"I feel great. I feel good," Burns said. "I think we're all in the same boat. We all train for the summer to play more than we ever play, so it's good.
"I get to eat more tonight now."
Burns apparently required a little extra to refuel after Saturday's long haul, and he'll need it in short order. With the Sharks hosting the Colorado Avalanche on the back end of a back-to-back on Sunday at SAP Center, he has less than 24 hours to get ready for what should be another demanding game, particularly for him.