Joe Pavelski could return for the San Jose Sharks during the Western Conference Second Round against the Colorado Avalanche.
Pavelski is making progress from an undisclosed injury and will skate in San Jose on Wednesday, coach Peter DeBoer said. It will be the center's first time on the ice since April 23, when he was injured during Game 7 of San Jose's first-round series against the Vegas Golden Knights.
DeBoer said Pavelski contacted the team trainer and others after San Jose's 4-2 win against Colorado in Game 3 on Tuesday, and the coach said he wouldn't count Pavelski out for the second round.
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"He's getting better every day. He was Facetiming us after the game last night so he's feeling better," DeBoer said Wednesday. "I think we're all excited about the progress he's making, so I wouldn't say he's not going to be available, no."
The Sharks lead the Avalanche 2-1 in the best-of-7 series, with Game 4 at Pepsi Center on Thursday (10 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS).
"Pavelski is a big hole for us. It's like taking [Gabriel] Landeskog or [Mikko] Rantanen out for [the Avalanche]. Or [Mark] Stone or [Paul] Stastny out for Vegas. It's a big hole. He's a big piece of everything we do," DeBoer said.
"So we knew the challenge coming into this series was that we were going to need guys to step up and fill those holes and I think when [Pavelski] has been out in the past, we probably haven't handled it as well. I don't think our record has been great. I think we've been exposed a little bit by missing him in different situations and I think that's the one thing the group's done, that we've gotten contributions from a lot of different guys, from [Gustav] Nyquist to [Lukas] Radil to [Micheal] Haley. A lot of guys have stepped up."
Pavelski remains day to day after being injured in the third period of Game 7 in the first round when he was cross-checked by Golden Knights forward Cody Eakin following a face-off and then run into by Stastny, knocking an off-balance Pavelski to the ice. He hit his head and had to be helped to the dressing room.
Pavelski, the Sharks captain, had four points (two goals, two assists) in seven games against the Golden Knights after he had 64 points (38 goals, 26 assists) in 75 regular-season games.
NHL.com staff writer Tim Campbell contributed to this report