Programming note: Sharks-Canucks Game 2 coverage kicks off Friday at 7 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet California with the puck drop in Vancouver. Stick around after the final horn for Sharks Postgame Live. Channel listings.
VANCOUVER – Marty Havlat and Scott Gomez will both be out for Game 2 of the Sharks’ Western Conference quarterfinal series with the Canucks on Friday night at Rogers Arena.
Havlat, who took a violent stick to the groin from Vancouver’s Kevin Bieksa in the first period of Game 1 and did not return, remained off of the ice on Friday morning. Gomez continues to skate, but is still apparently feeling the effects of a big hit 10 days ago.
Indications are that Tim Kennedy will be inserted into the lineup to center the fourth line between Adam Burish and James Sheppard. That means Raffi Torres will likely stay on the top line with Logan Couture and Patrick Marleau, where he skated after Havlat's premature departure Wednesday night.
[RELATED: Is Game 2 a must win for Canucks?]
“He brings a ton of energy, goes to the net, he’s dangerous to score a lot of times, very strong on loose pucks,” Todd McLellan said of Torres. “For him to move up there, we were comfortable in doing that immediately.”
Torres said: “It’s not hard to play with guys like that, guys that move the puck and move up the ice pretty quick. Logan’s done a hell of a job, I didn’t know he was such a solid two-way player. That’s huge, especially for a guy like me who might be a little less solid in our zone. I don’t think my role changes, it’s just to go out there and be physical, get the puck to those guys and get to the net.”
Andrew Desjardins will also be promoted, likely playing on the wing with Joe Pavelski and Tommy Wingels. That line was on the ice for the game-winning goal in Game 1, when Dan Boyle fired in a pass from Wingels in the third period.
“He created a lot of confusion there at the net on the goal Boyler scored,” Pavelski said. “I’ve played with him before and seen it. It’s got to be a simple game for us. This time of year, that’s what it is.”
McLellan said: “To see that Desi can graduate up a line and be productive is pretty rewarding for him, and for us.”
The Sharks’ coach was asked about the hit from Bieksa on Havlat, which looked to be a cheap shot by the Canucks’ defenseman.
“Marty’s not playing today, and I guess that’s all that is important,” McLellan said. “If there was a situation where somebody crossed the line, it could have been dealt with on the ice, or after.”
* * *
Kennedy went almost seven weeks between games on March 10 at Colorado and San Jose’s final game of the regular season in Los Angeles on April 27.
In 13 regular season games, the 27-year-old had two goals and no assists. He admitted it wasn’t exactly easy being a healthy scratch for such a long stretch.
“That’s always tough. As a player you want to play, but the team was on a pretty good roll,” Kennedy said. “As a professional, you just have to suck up your pride and just do what’s best for the team.”
[RELATED: Sharks-Canucks Game 2 at a glance]
He played 13 minutes against the Kings in a game that Havlat missed due to an unspecified injury.
“I think playing that game will help me if I’m in the lineup tonight,” he said. “It was good to play, and whenever you’re called on to perform, you just hop back in.”
* * *
The Sharks expect the Canucks to come out like gangbusters in Game 2, as a 2-0 series hole headed back to San Jose would not be easy to overcome.
“Stakes are high,” Torres said. “These guys have got to come out and get a win. We expect to come a lot more at us than they did last game, and we’ve got to be ready for the push early.”
McLellan said: “I think they’ll be better, and we have to match that. Rather than feeling real good about ourselves, I’d rather we be on the edge and on our toes, and be prepared. If our players are prepared to approach the game that way, it will give us a better opportunity.”
* * *
Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault has said used the word “cheat” multiple times when describing the Sharks’ approach to faceoffs. San Jose won 57 percent of draws in Game 1.
What is MeLellan’s response?
“One of these days, coaches are going to end up coming in here with their video equipment and playing four or five faceoffs, and we would throw out the theory of who’s cheating, and whatnot.”
“If we can do it better than they can, and it doesn’t mean it will happen that way tonight, all the more power to us.”