With 52 seconds left in the first period Thursday night, Hertl scored his first career playoff goal, giving the Sharks a 2-0 lead en route to a 6-3 victory in Game 1 of their first-round series.
Hertl hadn't scored a goal since Dec. 12 against the Minnesota Wild, one week before he took a knee-on-knee hit from Kings captain Dustin Brown, damaging two ligaments. Hertl underwent surgery on Dec. 31 and missed the next 45 games.
He returned to play in the final two regular-season games but Sharks coach Todd McLellan still wondered how he'd respond in a playoff game.
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