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San Jose Sharks' Marc-Edouard Vlasic could return in Game 5

By Connor Grott
San Jose Sharks' Marc-Edouard Vlasic could return in Game 5
San Jose Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic (L) exited Game 2 after being struck high by a puck. He returned to practice Wednesday. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

April 18 (UPI) -- San Jose Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic could return to the lineup for Thursday night's Game 5 against the Vegas Golden Knights.

The defenseman practiced Wednesday and said it was the first time he had skated since a puck struck him high in the second period of Game 2.

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"We'll see how he responds [Thursday]," Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer told reporters. "But I thought he looked good, which is a good sign."

The Sharks have lost three consecutive games in the series by a combined score of 16-6 and face elimination in the fifth contest of the first-round matchup.

Vlasic averaged 21:03 of ice time during the regular season, trailing only defensemen Brent Burns (25:06) and Erik Karlsson (24:29). Vlasic was paired with Burns during the team's practice session Wednesday.

The Sharks' defense is missing Radim Simek due to a knee injury. Karlsson is playing through a problematic groin injury that forced him to miss 27 of the last 33 regular-season games.

"[Vlasic is] a big piece for us," DeBoer said. "I think especially when you take Simek out too and Karlsson obviously not at 100 percent, I think it creates some holes for us. Having said that, I think the guys [who have] come in have done a good job. Other than Game 3 and a few spurts of some of the other games, I think defensively we've been pretty good."

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The Golden Knights hold a 3-1 series lead. The Sharks host Game 5 Thursday night at the SAP Center.

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