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Sharks' Karlsson to make NHL debut against Oilers

by Eric Gilmore

OILERS (7-15-5) at SHARKS (14-11-4)


SAN JOSE -- Forward Melker Karlsson was recalled from Worcester of the American Hockey League and will make his NHL debut for the San Jose Sharks against the Edmonton Oilers at SAP Center on Tuesday.

The Sharks placed veteran forward Tyler Kennedy (shoulder) on injured reserve and Karlsson will take his spot on the roster, skating on the third line with James Sheppard and Barclay Goodrow.

"It's going to be really fun to play here," said Karlsson. "I'm so excited when I got the call. It's finally here now."

Karlsson, 24, had 66 points (31-35-66) in 216 games in the Swedish Hockey League before signing with the Sharks as a free agent on May 30. In 20 games for Worcester, Karlsson had five goals and 10 points.

"Melker is a hard, committed player," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "We're still finding out a lot about him. His American League games have been very strong. He's not going to score a whole bunch of goals, but he'll play on the inside, he'll keep his nose over the puck and give you everything he has. Character and commitment are probably two of the words we'd use when we talk about him."

Sheppard played two games with Karlsson at Worcester earlier in the season while on a conditioning assignment.

"He's a really solid player," Sheppard said. "In the second game, he really turned it on. He was flying, his line was going. He was aggressive. He was digging for pucks, but he has that silky hand as well. He can really stick handle and dangle and pass. I'm really excited to see him. I know he's normally a center, but he's been on the wing the last couple games."

The Oilers snapped an 11-game losing streak Sunday with a 2-1 victory against San Jose at Rexall Place. The Oilers won't have veteran center Boyd Gordon for the rematch after he aggravated a back injury Sunday and did not make the trip to San Jose.

"His back is as bad as it's been," Oilers coach Dallas Eakins said. "He actually woke up today even worse, so that's not good news on a guy we rely heavily on. ... Hopefully he gets better quickly because he's a guy that we rely on heavily for some really tough minutes in our own zone."

Fourth-line center Mark Arcobello will take Gordon's spot on the third line, skating with David Perron and Teddy Purcell. Matt Hendricks, who missed the past four games with a leg injury, will return and center the fourth line. Hendricks hasn't played center since the 2012-13 season with the Washington Capitals.

"I played a little bit of that in Washington for the Capitals," Hendricks said. "I might need a lot of help from my wingers tonight, there's no arguing that, but I look forward to the opportunity."

Hendricks said it will take a collective team effort to replace Gordon.

"You lose a leader in the locker room," Hendricks said. "You lose a very key element of our team in terms of defensive responsibilities, faceoffs, but [he's] arguably also one of the best penalty killers in the NHL in my view. We got a lot of big skates and shoes to fill with him being out of the lineup, but we got guys in here that are capable of raising their game to help fill the void."

Here are the projected lineups:


Taylor Hall - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Tyler Pitlick

Nail Yakupov - Leon Draisaitl - Jordan Eberle

David Perron - Mark Arcobello - Teddy Purcell

Luke Gazdic - Matt Hendricks - Steven Pinizzotto

Andrew Ference - Jeff Petry

Oscar Klefbom - Mark Fayne

Keith Aulie - Justin Schultz

Ben Scrivens

Viktor Fasth

Scratched: Jesse Joensuu, Brandon Davidson

Injured: Boyd Gordon (back), Benoit Pouliot (foot), Nikita Nikitin (back)


Tomas Hertl - Joe Thornton - Joe Pavelski

Patrick Marleau - Logan Couture - Tommy Wingels

Barclay Goodrow - James Sheppard - Melker Karlsson

Mike Brown - Andrew Desjardins - John Scott

Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Justin Braun

Brenden Dillon - Brent Burns

Mirco Mueller - Scott Hannan

Antti Niemi

Alex Stalock

Scratched: Matt Irwin, Tye McGinn

Injured: Raffi Torres (knee), Matt Nieto (ankle), Tyler Kennedy (shoulder)

Status report: Nieto will miss his third straight game, but he skated with the team Tuesday, and McLellan said he expects him to play Thursday against Minnesota. ... The Sharks reassigned goaltender Troy Grosenick to Worcester. He had been on injured reserve with an upper-body injury. ... The Oilers, who face back-to-back games against San Jose and the Anaheim Ducks, recalled defenseman Brandon Davidson from Oklahoma City of the AHL. "Just to cover us off, just in case one of our D-men gets hurt," Eakins said.

Who's hot: Marleau has seven points (1-6-7) on a five-game point streak. He leads the Sharks in points (25) and assists (18). ... Wingels has three goals and six assists in his past five games... Perron (2-2-4) has a four-game point streak and scored the game-winner against San Jose. ... Purcell (1-1-2) has a two-game goal streak.

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