SAN JOSE, Calif. -- It doesn't get any easier for the struggling
as they will face the
on Friday night without two of their top defensemen.
was placed on injured reserve Friday with an upper-body injury suffered during Tuesday night's 5-2 loss to the
and fellow blueliner
is also sidelined with an upper-body injury that will keep him out at least through the weekend.
Hjalmarsson missed the last two days of practice with what was first described as the
, but coach
said following Friday's morning skate at HP Pavilion that "things changed." Hjalmarsson flew back to Chicago with Montador and both will miss the game against the Sharks and also Saturday night's contest vs. the
in Glendale, Ariz.
Replacing Montador and Hjalmarsson will be rookie
, who was recalled from Rockford of the
early Friday, and veteran Sami Lepisto.
Lepisto has been a healthy scratch the last 15 games and hasn't played since Jan. 2 against the
"You start to think a little bit like, 'what's going on?,' " Lepisto said about sitting so long. "You're still not in and the team is not doing very well. That's Coach's choice. I'm excited about (playing Friday). Hopefully, I can help the team."
Lepisto and Olsen will be thrown right into the fire for a team that has lost six consecutive games overall and its last eight on the road. Lepisto has appeared in 11 of the Hawks' 55 games this season and plans to keep things simple in his return.
"It's been a while--I don't even know how long," Lepisto said. "I'll just try to do my job and not too much and just go easy. It's been a rough patch. We want to play simple and play it period by period and go from there."
will start in goal for the Hawks and will be opposed by former teammate
for the Sharks. ... Veteran Sharks defenseman
will play after missing San Jose's last game with the flu.