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Round 1

Logan Couture, Joe Thornton questionable for Sharks

San Jose centers each game-time decision for Game 1 against Oilers

by Eric Gilmore / NHL.com Correspondent

SAN JOSE -- San Jose Sharks centers Logan Couture and Joe Thornton each practiced for a second straight day Tuesday but their availability for Game 1 of the Western Conference First Round against the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place on Wednesday (10 p.m. ET; USA, SN, TVA Sports, NBCS-CA) is unknown.

"Both those guys are day to day," Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said. "They both looked good today at practice but that will be a game-time decision."

Couture hasn't played since being hit in mouth by a deflected puck on March 25 against the Nashville Predators. Thornton hasn't played since injuring his left knee on April 2 against the Vancouver Canucks.

Based on their work on the ice the past two days, Couture appears to be more likely than Thornton to be in the lineup for Game 1. For a second straight day, Couture centered the top line, skating between Joe Pavelski and Melker Karlsson and went through an entire practice. Couture also worked on the top power-play unit.

Thornton skated again with extra forwards Micheal Haley and Kevin Labanc and left practice early, this time missing power-play work.

"I feel better," Couture said of his conditioning. "It's good to skate multiple days. I think it's been six or seven days that I've skated. Each day you can get on the ice back to back and get a good practice, high-tempo practice, these are the good ones to be part of, so I'm happy to be out there with the team. It feels like guys are moving pretty good. It was a good practice again today."

DeBoer said Couture "looked great" during practice.

"I think it was just nice to have him out there two practices in a row," DeBoer said. "I think every time he's on the ice he feels better about where he's at."

Video: The guys preview the series between EDM and SJS

On April 5, Thornton said he had no doubt he'd be able to play in Game 1. He tempered that view Tuesday.

"I'm confident, but it's still day to day so we'll see how it feels tomorrow," Thornton said. "It felt nice to skate. I feel strong, but it's just nice to get back on the ice with the guys."

Thornton, who typically plays on the top line and No. 1 power play, said he'd be willing to take a more limited role in Game 1 if that's what DeBoer wants.

"Absolutely," Thornton said. "Playoff hockey, just kind of do what you can to help the team win and move on. So that's the goal."

All four of San Jose's lines, including Couture's, have been the same the past two practices. Patrick Marleau centered the second line between Joonas Donskoi and Joel Ward. The third line had Tomas Hertl at center, skating with Jannik Hansen and Mikkel Boedker. Chris Tierney centered the fourth line between rookies Marcus Sorensen and Timo Meier.

For one of the rare times this season, DeBoer was able to hold back-to-back practices.

"It was nice," DeBoer said. "Had to dust off the whistle and do some work. It was nice to be able to do that. You forget how important [it is] getting some of those details in. Obviously with the schedule the last month and some of the injuries we've dealt with, we haven't had a lot of those days."

 

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