From the look of morning skate at Enterprise Center on Wednesday, the Sharks could potentially roll out different bottom six lines for Game 3 against the St. Louis Blues after falling 4-2 in Game 2.
Sharks coach Peter DeBoer wouldn’t confirm whether those changes would stick come game time. He did say, however, that he was looking for a spark from his depth players.
“The playoffs are all about depth,” he told the media after Wednesday’s morning skate. “On the runs we’ve had and where we’ve had success here, it’s been about contributions throughout your lineup. From all four lines.”
From the look of Wednesday’s practice, San Jose’s top two lines manned by Logan Couture and Tomas Hertl will stay intact. In practice, Melker Karlsson moved up to Joe Thornton’s wing opposite Kevin Labanc, in place of Marcus Sorensen. Micheal Haley took rushes with Barclay Goodrow and Joonas Donskoi on the fourth line.
When pressed by the media as to why Sorensen may be out of the lineup for Game 3, DeBoer commented only on the status of his depth scorers as a whole and the fact he wants to see them play a more energetic game on Wednesday night.
“I think Marcus is like our whole group of forwards,” he said. “I think we have a good group that’s built for this time of year. They play an honest game, they play inside, they play with energy. So we’re looking for all of those things.”
While the changes at morning skate may have some fans scratching their heads, the new-look fourth line of Donskoi-Goodrow-Haley previously played together 7:37 minutes during the regular season according to Natural Stat Trick. Given that Donskoi has played well on that fourth line since returning to the lineup from an injury in the second round, it isn’t too surprising he will be kept on that line with Goodrow – particularly since the two generated four five-on-five goals together in the regular season.
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Melker Karlsson is also a player DeBoer has traditionally moved throughout the lineup when he’s trying to get the offense going, hence the reason he could start the game on Thornton’s wing. Thornton and Karlsson logged a little over 60 minutes in ice time together during the regular season, while Karlsson and Labanc combined for six goals in five-on-five play, according to Natural Stat Trick.