San Jose must get Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Joonas Donskoi back in their lineup for stretch drive.
After a stretch of scintillating hockey, the San Jose Sharks have hit the skids of late. Following their 4-2 loss against the Dallas Stars, the Sharks have now dropped three-straight for the first time since early December.
While the results aren’t what they’ve wanted, San Jose has played some decent hockey but has come out on the short end. One of the factors contributing to their struggles has been the absence of Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Jonnas Donskoi from the lineup.
Vlasic has missed the past five contests for the Sharks after suffering an injury against the Arizona Coyotes on March 17. As everyone knows, Vlasic is the leader of the blue line for team teal as he is tasked with shutting down the opposition’s top line.
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However, Vlasic has been contributing on the offensive end of the ice as well as he’s having a career season with 39 points (eight goals, 31 assists).
While the Sharks were able to survive the first two games without Vlasic, they’ve now dropped three-in-a-row while allowing 11 goals over that span. That’s not going to get it done come playoff time.
Now, the good news for team teal is Peter DeBoer said Vlasic should be back in time for the postseason which is definitely a positive development. Hopefully that assessment proves accurate as the Sharks need their top defensemen in the fold, which helps balance out the rest of the defensive unit.
Up front, Donskoi has been a revelation for the Sharks, and he was playing his best hockey of the season before being injured in San Jose’s collapse against Edmonton.
The 23-year-old forward is a playmaker, and his presence has bolstered San Jose’s depth up front. With Donskoi in the lineup, the Sharks can ice three lines capable of generating offense at any point. He’s been great of late with one goal and six assists during the month of March, while netting 11 goals and 23 assists with a plus-four rating in his rookie campaign in teal.
Luckily for San Jose, Donskoi’s lower-body injury isn’t expected to keep him out of action long as Donskoi actually participated in the pre-game skate against Dallas. Don’t be surprised if number 27 is back in action when the Sharks host the Kings on Monday night.
While home ice would certainly be nice when the playoffs begin in a couple weeks, the focus for the Sharks should be on getting their key pieces, like Vlasic and Donskoi, healthy and ready to go.
Because let’s face it, without either of them, San Jose has a very slim chance of making a run in the Stanley Cup playoffs.