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