SAN JOSE • The Sharks may be making some lineup changes for Game 4 Thursday, but the Blues will keep theirs the same as it was in Monday's 4-3 win in Game 3.
According to the Sharks' practice lines, former Blues Michal Handzus and Brad Winchester could see their first action of the series. They were inserted for T.J. Galiardi and Dominic Moore.
"Potential lineup changes, there’s potential shuffling," San Jose coach Todd McLellan said. "We still have to sit down as a staff and confirm everything. But there’s always that opportunity.’’
The Sharks appear ready to break up their top line of Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Joe Pavelski. The line has produced three points in the series — all on assists by Thornton in Game 3.
Today, Thornton centered Logan Couture and Pavelski, while Marleau centered Ryane Clowe and Marty Havlat.
"Just about a different look, finding different chemistry," Thornton said. "If (McLellan) does change the lines, hopefully it will spark some offense from us."
Blues coach Ken Hitchcock was asked about the Sharks' potential changes, and noting that both Handzus and Winchester are both 6-foot-5, he said: "They brought size and obviously 'Zus' is a great (penalty-killing) guy ... (McLellan) has got his depth, we've got our depth."
Despite being disappointed with his team's 5-on-5 play in Game 3, Hitchcock said he will dress the same lineup in Game 4. But he mentioned possible line changes. The lines in today's practice remained the same, with each of the four units wearing a different colored jersey (blue, red, green, gold, white).
"I wouldn't go to the bank on the lines in practice today," Hitchcock said. "I think we're going to make a couple of changes here as we move forward, but I was too lazy to change the jerseys today."
Many fans continue to ask about the whereabouts of Ryan Reaves, who had four hits in eight minutes of ice time in Game 1 and hasn't been seen since. Reaves has been a healthy scratch the past two games. Asked about Reaves' absence again today, Hitchcock said the Blues need the attributes of B.J. Crombeen in the lineup.
"I just think we needed that voice in the locker room at that time," he said. "We needed as much experience to understand the level of the playoffs as anybody and 'Beener' has that experience. We needed a stronger voice inside the locker room. They're both similar players, but we needed the voice to understand that this isn't the regular season.
"We played OK in Game 1, but we didn't have the emotional content necessary to win a series. I didn't think with the emotional level we put into Game 1 that we were going to win the series. We needed to change our emotional level."
Blues goaltender Jaroslav Halak was at the rink today, but as expected he didn't go on the ice. In case you missed it yesterday, the club has ruled him out for Game 4 Thursday.
"He's not going to play obviously and he's not going to skate," Hitchcock said. "He skated yesterday, so we'll just keep working him towards getting back here sometime. But right now, he's not available, so Brian (Elliott) is the guy.