After missing out on 59 regular season games, Raffi Torres came back to the Sharks lineup with a bang. In just his first game back against the Philadelphia Flyers he made a noticeable impact by notching two goals. That, along with Joe Pavelski‘s third period hat-trick, helped propel the Sharks to a blowout victory. In his next game, against the New Jersey Devils, he potted one goal on one shot.
It’s pretty fair to say that Torres’ five games back were highly successful; the Sharks went 4-0-1 in that stretch.
Todd McLellan told David Pollak of the San Jose Mercury News that Torres’ could potentially return to the lineup next week.
The ultimate goal is to have him 100 percent ready to go for playoffs. We’ll take it day by day. But now, after tomorrow we’re looking at a three-day rest and practice period. We’ll see where we’re at next week.
McLellan is right on in trying to get Torres fully ready for the playoffs since the likely opponent will be the all-to-familiar Los Angeles Kings. The Sharks will need to add more physicality and toughness to their lineup if they want to compete with this Kings team. Torres’ return will do just that.
Tomas Hertl‘s breakout year came to a very disappointing end back on December 19th in Los Angeles. Dustin Brown and Hertl were both involved in a brutal knee-on-knee collision that shook both players up. Brown returned that same game, but Hertl has yet to return to the Sharks lineup with a knee injury.
Although it is looking very doubtful that Hertl will be able to return to his regular position on the team by the end of the regular season, he did make a huge step forward in his recovery this past week. Hertl finally began to practice without a no contact jersey:
McLellan says Hertl out of “no-contact” jersey is just one of many steps he needs to take before back in #SJSharks lineup. But progress.
— David Pollak (@PollakOnSharks) April 2, 2014
A return before the end of the first round of the playoffs isn’t completely out of the question yet. Hertl’s return would be huge for the Sharks, and it would give them four very, very deep lines that would give opponents major trouble. The lines, with Hertl in, could look something like this:
Wow, that is one scary team.