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Sharks vs. Oilers: Wingels still out as forward injuries pile up

San Jose rings in the new year by hosting the last-place team in the Western Conference but the Sharks continue to be plagued by injury up front.

Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

After undergoing successful knee surgery on Tuesday, rookie sensation Tomas Hertl could be out anywhere from three to nine months. That's the most pressing, but far from the only, injury concern the Sharks are currently dealing with up front. In addition to Hertl, Marty Havlat remains out with a lower-body injury, Raffi Torres is still on the shelf recovering from ACL surgery and Tommy Wingels will miss his second straight game tonight after a collision during Sunday's win over Anaheim.

That's four top-nine forwards the team is without and while Bracken Kearns' two-game goal-scoring streak has been a nice surprise, San Jose's 6-3 loss to the Ducks on New Year's Eve suggests the franchise understandably doesn't have the organizational depth to cope with their loss of forward talent. San Jose's bottom six is a wasteland at this point and was responsible for three of the four even-strength goals Anaheim scored on Tuesday. While tonight's opponent, the last-place Oilers, aren't exactly world-beaters, the Sharks will need their top players to single-handedly carry them to victory. With so many useful weapons out of commission, the supporting cast just isn't anywhere near what it was earlier in the season.

Edmonton Oilers

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San Jose Sharks
13-24-5, 31 points
25-9-6, 56 points
7th in Pacific
2nd in Pacific

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TV: CSNCA-HD | Radio: SJSharks.com, 98.5 KFOX
Know Your Enemy: The Copper & Blue, mc79hockey, Cult Of Hockey

Projected Sharks Lineup

Joe Pavelski - Joe Thornton - Brent Burns
Patrick Marleau - Logan Couture - Matt Nieto
James Sheppard - Bracken Kearns - Freddie Hamilton
Mike Brown - Andrew Desjardins - Tyler Kennedy

Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Justin Braun
Matt Irwin - Dan Boyle
Brad Stuart - Jason Demers

Antti Niemi
Alex Stalock

Projected Oilers Lineup

Taylor Hall - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - David Perron
Nail Yakupov - Sam Gagner - Jordan Eberle
Ryan Smyth - Boyd Gordon - Ales Hemsky
Jesse Joensuu - Anton Lander - Luke Gazdic

Andrew Ference - Justin Schultz
Nick Schultz - Jeff Petry
Anton Belov - Martin Marincin

Devan Dubnyk
Ilya Bryzgalov