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At the Rink blog

Sharks' Havlat to make season debut

Wednesday, 10.30.2013 / 3:51 PM

By Curtis Zupke - NHL.com Correspondent / 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

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2013-2014 At the Rink Blog
Sharks' Havlat to make season debut

LOS ANGELES -- The San Jose Sharks hardly needed more offensive firepower, but right wing Marty Havlat will make his season debut Wednesday in a big divisional game against the Los Angeles Kings.

Havlat is recovered from pelvic surgery in June and it will be his first game since Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals, also against the Kings, on May 18. He will step onto the third line with Joe Pavelski and Tommy Wingels. Havlat isn't sure what to expect but he's anxious to get back in.

"I haven't played a game in six months," he said. "It's been a long time. It feels good to be back on the ice with the guys. We'll see how it goes."

Sharks coach Todd McLellan said he's being cautious about integrating Havlat back into a fast-skating Sharks team after such a long time off.

"I think we have to be fair with him and give him every opportunity to get his feet going and get involved," McLellan said. "But the key is to get his feet going. For Marty to be effective in our team environment he's going to have to play with some tempo and some speed. He's going to have to play a north/south game. He knows that. He can play that way.

"We'll look for that [Wednesday], but not only [Wednesday], the next three or four games … you're not always coming back at the top of your game. You've got to be able work your way in and get yourself going."

This will be the first meeting between the teams since Los Angeles eliminated San Jose in Game 7 of the second round at Staples Center.

"It's just nice to see him back," captain Joe Thornton said of Havlat. "He adds a lot of offense to this team and just makes this team a lot deeper."

Defenseman Dan Boyle continues to skate but is not expected to play. He was knocked unconscious by a hit from Maxim Lapierre of the St. Louis Blues on Oct. 15.

McLellan said left wing Matthew Nieto is "still not 100 percent" healthy from his hand injury and won't get to make his Los Angeles debut. Nieto, from nearby Long Beach, is the first California native to play for the Sharks.

Here is San Jose's expected lineup:

Tomas Hertl - Joe Thornton - James Sheppard

Patrick Marleau - Logan Couture - Tyler Kennedy

Marty Havlat - Joe Pavelski - Tommy Wingels

John McCarthy - Andrew Desjardins - Mike Brown

Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Justin Braun

Matt Irwin - Brad Stuart

Scott Hannan - Jason Demers

Antti Niemi

Alex Stalock

Scratched: Freddie Hamilton

Injured: Raffi Torres (knee), Adam Burish (back), Brent Burns (face), Dan Boyle (head), Matthew Nieto (hand)

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