SAN JOSE – The Sharks placed winger Rudolfs Balcers on injured reserve and recalled goalie Alexei Melnichuk as James Reimer was unavailable to dress Tuesday night against the Calgary Flames.
Balcers missed Sunday’s game with the Columbus Blue Jackets with a lower-body injury and is now considered week-to-week, Sharks coach Bob Boughner said. Balcers’ last game was Friday against the New York Rangers as he had 14:16 of ice time in a 1-0 Sharks loss.
Balcers is sixth among all Sharks forwards with 10 points in 24 games, and third among the forward group in penalty kill time this season.
Noah Gregor will remain in Balcers’ place on the Sharks’ second line with Tomas Hertl and Alexander Barabanov for Tuesday’s game.
Reimer did not play in the Sharks’ last three games. Boughner said the 33-year-old goalie has been feeling worn out lately — ruling out COVID — but still considered him day-to-day. Before last Thursday’s game against the New York Islanders, Reimer had played in seven games in 15 days.
“It’s more of a (rest-based) decision basically,” Boughner said. “He’s run down and not 100 percent, so we want to make sure we’re taking care of that.
“It’s more of a maintenance thing for his body.”
Adin Hill will make his fourth straight start for the Sharks. In his last start against Calgary on Nov. 9, Hill made 37 saves in a 4-1 road win for San Jose.
Melnichuk, 23, has a 2-5-1 record with the Barracuda this season, including a .857 save percentage and a 3.75 goals-against average.
LABANC SITS: Kevin Labanc, who has gone without a point in his last six games, will be a scratch Tuesday for one of the few times in his NHL career.
Labanc, 25, in the second year of a four-year, $18.9 million contract, has played in the bottom six forward group almost all season. In Sunday’s game against Columbus, a Labanc giveaway in the first period inside the Sharks’ zone eventually led to the Blue Jackets’ first goal. The Sharks lost 6-4 and Labanc finished with a season-low 10:25 of ice time.
Labanc played in 258 straight games from Nov. 12, 2017, to April 24 of this year before he had to miss an April 26 game against Arizona game because of injury. Labanc also missed five games in early November after he was placed in the NHL’s COVID protocol.
Tuesday night, though, he’ll sit due to a coach’s decision.
“He just needs to be better,” Boughner said of Labanc. “We need more from him. We’ve tried him on different lines and we want to play with a certain identity and everybody’s got to be on that same page.”
The Sharks’ fourth line Tuesday will feature Jasper Weatherby in the middle with Jonah Gadjovich and Lane Pederson on the wings.
The Sharks’ next game is Thursday against the Minnesota Wild.
Labanc has six points in 19 games, with four of those points coming on the power play. Before this season, Labanc had 157 points in 284 regular-season games.
“It’s not a bad thing once in a while, sitting back and watching the game from up top, and just sort of taking inventory of your game,” Boughner said.
“It’s time to just be better and find your ‘A game.’ We want to play a certain way and that has to be every guy in that room, and it’s got to be consistent — game after game after game. If I had to label one thing, it’s consistency in (Labanc’s) game.”