The 22-year-old took a hard hit from Patric Hornqvist during the third period of Wednesday’s game and was unable to practice with his teammates on Friday. He was officially ruled out before Saturday’s game.
“Next man up for us,” said Sharks coach Peter DeBoer. “He’s arguably been maybe our best player through the first two games. Injuries are no excuse this time of year, we’ve got someone that will go in for him and we’ll roll out there and be ready to play.”
The Czech was one of the more dangerous Sharks during two series-opening losses in Pittsburgh. He generated eight shot attempts in those games.
The Sharks are comfortable moving on without him because other players have played in that top-line wing spot over the last couple years.
“Melker has before, and so has (Dainius) Zubrus,” said DeBoer. “I think the one thing with those two guys, you’ve got a guy that will hound the puck and work for it. Those two guys pretty much take care of the rest. I think we’ve got a lot of options because of who we’re sticking them in with.
“I think it should be fairly seamless.”