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Pavelski skates with Sharks, won't play Game 6 against Avalanche

Forward says it's possible he could return for San Jose's next game

by Nicholas J. Cotsonika @cotsonika / Columnist

DENVER -- Joe Pavelski skated with the San Jose Sharks on Monday for the first time since sustaining head injuries April 23.

The forward will not play against the Colorado Avalanche in Game 6 of the Western Conference Second Round at Pepsi Center on Monday (10 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS). The Sharks lead the best-of-7 series 3-2.

But Sharks coach Peter DeBoer called it a positive step in his progression, and Pavelski said he was close to playing.


[RELATED: Complete Sharks vs. Avalanche series coverage]


"We're still checking out a few things here and there and [seeing] how we feel," he said.

Is there a chance Pavelski will play if there is a Game 7 in San Jose on Wednesday?

"Yeah, it's a possibility, I think, and we'll see," he said. "Hopefully we don't get to that point and (the Sharks have) a few more days rest and whatever. But it still really is day to day, I think, and go from there. I wish we had a set-in-stone answer. 'Go here, do this and be ready.' We're just kind of taking everything into play."

Pavelski was injured in Game 7 of the first round against the Vegas Golden Knights. He was cross-checked and bumped after a face-off, then fell and hit his head on the ice. The Sharks rallied from down 3-0 in the third period to win 5-4 in overtime.

He did not travel to Denver for Games 3 and 4 of this series but started skating on his own. He was all smiles as he went through drills with his teammates Monday and stayed out to do extra work afterward.

"It's great," Sharks center Joe Thornton said. "I know he's been through so much the last 10 days or so, and to see him back on the ice, it's a good feeling for all of us. Just being back with the boys and skating again, I think he's feeling much, much better. I know the guys love seeing him out there."

Pavelski, the captain, led the Sharks with 38 goals in the regular season.

In Game 1 against Vegas, he scored a goal when a shot deflected in off his face. He lost three teeth, had another sheared off and had two more cracked, and he had to put on a jaw guard to protect the dental work. He had four points (two goals, two assists) in that series.

"It would be a great boost for them," said Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson, who has played with Pavelski for the United States internationally. "Great player, great guy. Definitely wish him well. If he's back, great for them, and for us, got to win a game either way."

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