SAN JOSE -- Joe Pavelski will travel with the San Jose Sharks for Game 6 of the Western Conference Second Round against the Colorado Avalanche on Monday (10 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS).
The forward, who sustained an undisclosed injury when his head hit the ice after he was cross-checked by Vegas Golden Knights forward Cody Eakin in Game 7 of the first round on April 23, resumed skating Wednesday and was on the ice Saturday after an optional morning skate at Solar4America Ice prior to the Sharks' 2-1 win in Game 5.
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San Jose leads the best-of-7 series 3-2 and would advance to the Western Conference Final with a win Monday.
"You'd like to think you can play tomorrow," said Pavelski, who spoke publicly Sunday for the first time since the injury. "But we are going to be smart, obviously. Definitely getting closer. Feel like I'm getting closer, feel like I want it."
Pavelski didn't give a timetable on his return but said his symptoms have gotten better in the past week.
"Everything's been improving in the last 4-5 days," he said. "I've been able to train a little bit and get through some of those training sessions and skate a little bit. Start working our way back.
"I think there was eight (stitches) in there. Just a pressure cut. The helmet did its job. It stayed on first and foremost. In those situations, it can come off. It stayed on and did everything it was supposed to do. ... I was a little lost. Gathered it pretty quickly shortly after, but that night was a little tougher with headaches and everything that comes with that. After I woke up that next day, I wouldn't say I suffered with headaches or this or that. I was laying pretty low."
Video: COL@SJS, Gm5: Pavelski gets the crowd pumped in 3rd
Pavelski has four points (two goals, two assists) in seven Stanley Cup Playoff games. He led the Sharks with 38 goals and had 64 points in 75 regular-season games.
"Obviously getting him back in the lineup will be a big boost for our team and will give us another real potent player offensively with the right-side draws and the penalty kill," Sharks forward Evander Kane said. "He just does so much, so obviously looking forward to that, but we have a real tough game in Colorado in Game 6 that we want to close out."
Pavelski was on hand to watch the Sharks in Game 5 and waved a rally towel to pump up the crowd in the third period.
"I was excited to get out there," Pavelski said. "Once I got out there and saw the crowd and the energy and got into it, you realize how much you miss it. ... These fans are special to me and this group, they always have been."
The Avalanche said they will approach Game 6 the same with or without Pavelski in the Sharks lineup.
"He is an all-star and he is one of the best players on their team," Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog said. "I don't know exactly how old he is -- he's north of 30 and he's putting up points and producing every year, year in and year out. I mean, he's an elite player. Obviously, he's their captain, and he means a lot to their group. You just saw how they rallied in Game 7 against the Golden Knights. So I'm sure there will be a boost for them.
"But for us, it doesn't change anything. We prepared going into the series as if he was going to play, and to be honest, we don't really care who is in or who is out for them."
NHL.com staff writer Tim Campbell contributed to this report