Sharks captain Joe Pavelski was back in action Wednesday night for Game 7 of San Jose’s Western Conference semifinal series against the visiting Colorado Avalanche.
Pavelski hadn’t played since sustaining an apparent head injury in Game 7 of San Jose’s first-round series with the Vegas Golden Knights.
Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said there was an awareness that Pavelski participating in warmups would pump up the crowd inside the SAP Center.
Pavelski scored a team-high 38 goals and added 26 assists in the regular season. He has two goals and two assists in seven games this postseason.
He was injured when his head hit the ice after a cross check by Vegas forward Cody Eakin on April 23. Eakin was assessed a major penalty for cross-checking, and the Sharks scored four times on the ensuing power play en route to a 5-4 overtime win.
The NHL subsequently apologized for the call, ruling that Eakin shouldn’t have been assessed a five-minute major. Pavelski also agreed that it shouldn’t have been a major penalty.
Pavelski got on the ice for the first time since the injury on Monday, then told reporters he is closer to returning.
“It still really is day-to-day, I think, and go from there,” Pavelski said Monday. “I wish we had a set-in-stone answer. ‘Go here, do this and be ready.’ We’re just kind of taking everything into play.”