SAN JOSE – Sharks forward Adam Burish is ready to make his series debut on Sunday night in Game 6 against the Los Angeles Kings, provided he doesn’t come down with a last minute case of food poisoning.
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“The plan is I’m going to play. Unless something changes, or if I eat some bad chicken, I’ll be good to go,” Burish said on Sunday morning.
The fourth liner hasn’t played since May 7, when he suffered a broken right hand against the Vancouver Canucks while blocking a shot. The Sharks originally declared him out for the entire second round.
He’s expected to skate with Andrew Desjardins and Bracken Kearns on the fourth line, but will also resume his role as one of the team’s most important penalty killers, according to Todd McLellan.
“I think that Adam and Desi (as a pair) have been two of our better penalty killers throughout the year,” said the head coach. “We’ve been automatically able to go to that pair at any given time. He’s a right handed guy in the faceoff circle which helps take some of the pressure off of Joe Pavelski, and some of the minutes off him in that situation.
“He’s a veteran player that has won a Stanley Cup and played in this situation before. That fourth line hasn’t had that type of presence in this series yet. He can help the other two getting through some of those moments.”
Burish, who had a goal and two assists in 46 games in the regular season, didn’t mask his excitement to play for the first time in the second round series.
“I’ve played in big games before. I’ve played in games that are important like this before. I know what I’m doing,” Burish said.
“Will I be excited? Heck yeah I’ll be excited. I’ve been wanting to play for the past two weeks. It sucked not being able to play and have to watch, not being able to help these guys. It will be fun to be back out there.”
McLellan said on Saturday he’d like to avoid having a repeat of what happened when Marty Havlat returned in Game 3. After the winger missed more than two weeks, he told the coaching staff he was ready to return the morning of the game, but left his teammates shorthanded after the first period.
Unlike the injury prone Havlat, if Burish plays, there’s little doubt the heart-and-soul forward won't finish the game.
“I’m glad the coaching staff has some confidence in me to let me go tonight,” he said. “I’ll do everything I can to help out.”
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Havlat made his first public appearance on the ice since leaving Game 3 on May 18. Havlat skated primarily by himself at HP Pavilion in full gear, shooting pucks but not skating very aggressively. Officially, Havlat is out with a lower body injury.
Havlat still does not have a locker stall in the dressing room at HP Pavilion, a good indication that he is not going to play any time soon if the Sharks can prolong their season.