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Sharks' Hertl to undergo knee surgery

by Eric Gilmore

SAN JOSE -- San Jose Sharks rookie forward Tomas Hertl will undergo surgery on his right knee next week, the team announced Monday.

Sharks general manager Doug Wilson initially said that Hertl would miss at least a month. Now that surgery has been scheduled, the Sharks expect Hertl to be sidelined for more than a month. They'll have a more definitive timetable after Hertl undergoes surgery.

Hertl was injured Thursday night in the first period against the Los Angeles Kings during a knee-on-knee collision with Kings captain Dustin Brown at Staples Center.

In the wake of Hertl's injury, the Sharks unveiled new-look lines Saturday night against the Dallas Stars.

The Sharks beat the Stars 3-2 in a shootout, but coach Todd McLellan has made more changes for his team's game Monday night against the Colorado Avalanche at SAP Center.

Right wing Brent Burns will rejoin center Joe Thornton and skate with Joe Pavelski on the top line. Patrick Marleau will rejoin center Logan Couture on the second line, which will include newcomer Tommy Wingels.

Wingels moved up a line and replaces Martin Havlat, who dropped to the fourth line with Tyler Kennedy and center John McCarthy. Andrew Desjardins will skate between James Sheppard and Matthew Nieto on the third line.

McLellan said he expects to keep experimenting "for some time" with his lines.

"We've got to look at how the opposition sets up as well," McLellan said. "Do they have skating lines? Do they have physical lines? That type of stuff. So we'll shuffle people around over the next little bit until we find comfortable combinations again. We're still not at where we need to be and where we were, so despite beating Dallas and coming from behind, we still have work to do and we're trying to find the right way of getting it done."

Thornton said he was glad to be reunited with Burns.

Couture will try to get back on track after going nine straight games without a goal. McLellan acknowledged he's concerned about his young star's scoring slump and said he talked to him "about his game" Saturday morning over a cup of coffee.

"I told him that for the most part the opportunities that he has (had) and have not gone in are immense," McLellan said. "There's posts, there's crossbars, there's knobs, so it would be easy to get down and really start losing your confidence, but when you tally them all up, when you show him those type of clips, you sit back and go, you know what, a fraction here, a fraction there and we're probably talking about a 10 goals in 15 games type of streak. So it can go one way or the other. That's how tight it is to score."

So it's just a matter of time before Couture busts out of his slump?

"Well, yeah, but I don't like how the clock's ticking," McLellan said. "I'm sure he doesn't either. A tremendous amount of opportunity where he's been able to score in the past and it hasn't gone in for him over this phase or stretch of games. When it's all said and done, he has become a go-to player for our team, a guy that is a focal point. With that comes a large responsibility to take the team on your shoulders at some point and we've seen him do it and know he can."

Couture said his slump can't end soon enough.

"I want to score goals. I want to help our team offensively," Couture said. "That's something I need to be better at. Everyone on this room knows that, including myself. It's frustrating going through tough times, but that's the way this game is. It's not going to be positives for 82 games, but I've got to find my way out of it. I've got to get out there and get some chances and put it in."

Here are the projected lineups for San Jose and Colorado:


Joe Pavelski - Joe Thornton - Brent Burns

Patrick Marleau - Logan Couture - Tommy Wingels

James Sheppard - Andrew Desjardins - Matthew Nieto

Tyler Kennedy - John McCarthy - Martin Havlat

Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Justin Braun

Matt Irwin - Dan Boyle

Scott Hannan - Jason Demers

Antti Niemi

Alex Stalock

Scratched: Mike Brown, Brad Stuart

Injured: Tomas Hertl (right knee), Raffi Torres (knee surgery), Adam Burish (back surgery)


Ryan O'Reilly - Matt Duchene - Nathan MacKinnon

Gabriel Landeskog - Paul Stastny - PA Parenteau

Jamie McGinn - John Mitchell - Maxime Talbot

Patrick Bordeleau - Marc-Andre Cliche - Cody McLeod

Jan Hejda - Erik Johnson

Andre Benoit - Cory Sarich

Tyson Barrie - Nate Guenin

Semyon Varlamov

Jean-Sebastien Giguere

Scratched: Ryan Wilson, Brad Malone, Nick Holden

Injured: Alex Tanguay (knee)

Notes: Tanguay, who has not played since Nov. 6, might resume skating after the Christmas break, Colorado coach Patrick Roy said. "We'll see how it goes," Roy said after his team's morning skate. "Right now he's making a lot of progress. We think he'll be back. ... I don't want to put a timeline on it. I think right now, as we speak, he's not out for the year because of the progress that he has made in the past week." ... Varlamov will make his third straight start. He stopped 37 of 39 shots over 65 minutes in a 3-2 shootout loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday.

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