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First Round

Vlasic might return for Sharks in Game 5 against Golden Knights

Defenseman practices after missing two losses with injury

by Nicholas J. Cotsonika @cotsonika / Columnist

SAN JOSE -- Marc-Edouard Vlasic might return to the lineup for the San Jose Sharks against the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 5 of the Western Conference First Round at SAP Center on Thursday (10 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVAS, NBCSCA, ATTSN-RM).

The defenseman practiced Wednesday and said it was the first time he had skated since a shot struck him high early in the second period of Game 2.

"I felt good today," Vlasic said. "I felt really good."


[RELATED: Complete Sharks vs. Golden Knights series coverage]


The Sharks have lost three games in a row by a combined score of 16-6 and face elimination in the best-of-7 series.

"We'll see how he responds tomorrow," San Jose coach Peter DeBoer said. "But I thought he looked good, which is a good sign."

Vlasic averaged 21:03 of ice time during the regular season, third on the Sharks behind defensemen Brent Burns (25:06) and Erik Karlsson (24:29). Vlasic was paired with Burns during practice Wednesday.

The Sharks defense is missing Radim Simek because of a knee injury. Karlsson is playing through groin problems that caused him to miss 27 of the last 33 regular-season games.

"[Vlasic is] a big piece for us," DeBoer said. "I think especially when you take Simek out too and Karlsson obviously not at 100 percent, I think it creates some holes for us.

"Having said that, I think the guys [who have] come in have done a good job. Other than Game 3 and a few spurts of some of the other games, I think defensively we've been pretty good."

Asked for his perspective on the Sharks while out, Vlasic said: "We have to win. That's No. 1. The little things: blocking shots, attention to detail, not turning the puck over, special teams, playing hockey. Just play hockey, don't worry about the extra stuff, because that's what everybody wants. That's what everybody wants to talk about. Just go out there and play your game."

Forward Micheal Haley did not practice Wednesday and remains day to day with a leg injury.

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