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Tomas Hertl doesn't practice with Sharks during 'maintenance' day

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- The status ofSan Jose Sharks forward Tomas Hertlfor Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals remains unclear after he skated briefly without equipment Friday and then left the ice as his teammates began their regularly scheduled practice.

Coach Pete DeBoer said Hertl, 22, was dealing with a minor issue and called his absence a "maintenance" day.

"Just kept him off," DeBoer said after the Sharks' practice.

DeBoer would not say whether he expected Hertl in the lineup for Game 3 against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday, saying all decisions would be made on game day.

Hertl has been one of the most effective forwards for the Sharks, who trail Pittsburgh 2-0 in the best-of-seven series. Games 3 and 4 are in San Jose on Saturday and Monday.

Hertl, who has six goals and five assists, including a game winner, took a hard hit from Pittsburgh forward Patric Hornqvist in Game 2. It's unknown whether this is related to Friday's absence.

Melker Karlsson skated with the top line Friday and said he's comfortable if pressed into service with the Sharks' big guns.

"I played with them before last season quite a bit," Karlsson said. "I know how they play, and I know what I'm going to bring there if that's the case.

"They're good players. Obviously they're one of the best in the league, and they spend much of their time in the offensive zone usually. You've got a lot of opportunities to score, too, when you play with those two, so that's a fun part."


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