– Sharks forward Torrey Mitchell
returned to the ice Monday after missing the regular-season finale Saturday night against Los Angeles with an undisclosed injury, but forward Ryane Clowe
and defenseman Brent Burns
missed practice as the Sharks began preparing for their first-round series against St. Louis.
The series opens Thursday night at the Scottrade Center.
Sharks coach Todd McLellan
said Clowe and Burns had "maintenance" days and added, "They'll both be ready to play."
Center - SJS
GOALS: 9 | ASST: 10 | PTS: 19
SOG: 100 | +/-: -6
Mitchell was injured Thursday night at Los Angeles when he took a hard hit from Colin Fraser
in the first period. He left that game and didn't return. Mitchell declared himself "good to go" after Monday's practice.
"I felt fine," Mitchell said. "I biked two days ago and I felt fine. I'm pretty much ready to go."
Clowe didn't play in the third period or overtime of San Jose's 3-2 victory against Los Angeles on Saturday night at HP Pavilion. Neither did defenseman Colin White
, who practiced on Monday. After that game, McLellan said Clowe and White needed a "maintenance period" and granted them one.
Clowe declined to say whether he suffered an injury against the Kings, but he said he "was fine" with McLellan's decision to keep him off the ice for the end of Saturday's game and Monday's practice.
"I stayed off. I feel good," Clowe said.
Before the series opens Thursday night at St. Louis, the Sharks will have had three full practices and a morning skate to prepare for the Blues. After losing all four regular-season games to St. Louis in regulation, the Sharks have plenty of tactical work to do. McLellan said he also wants to make sure his team keeps the sharp edge it developed during its playoff push. The Sharks won their final four regular-season games, beating Dallas and Los Angeles in back-to-back, home-and-home series sweeps.
"We do that physically and mentally," McLellan said of both goals. "Visually, we see some video of us and them, we talk about how we want to play, and that's been established since the beginning of the year. It's just maintaining it, and then physically just practice situations, as much game situation play as we possibly can that's both unique to our team and maybe to what we'll see in the series."
Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said he won't name his starting goaltender – Jaroslav Halak
or Brian Elliott
– until Thursday, but the Sharks likely don't have a preference. They lost twice to Halak and twice to Elliott. Each one shut them out once.
"They're just both elite goaltenders," Sharks captain Joe Thornton
said. "You're going to have to work to get your goals. It's going to be a low-scoring affair. It's going to be 2-1 games, 1-0 games, and that's what we have to expect."
The Sharks will wear their alternate black jerseys for their home playoff games. They were 12-2-0 this season when dressed in black.