Rookie forward Tomas Hertl should be ready to play Tuesday when the Sharks go on the road to take on St. Louis in a game between unbeaten teams.

Starting with that game the Sharks would like to see Hertl do a better job of protecting himself so he won't be as vulnerable to unnecessary hits and injuries.

Hertl 19 was shaken up in the second period of Saturday's 3-2 win by the Sharks over Ottawa. He skated through two defenders and was cutting into the slot in front of the Senators net when he stumbled and fell awkwardly into forward Clarke MacArthur. Hertl missed the rest of the game and did not skate Sunday as replays showed there was contact with Hertl's head and shoulder.

It was the second time in as many games Hertl suffered a blow to the upper body or head. At Vancouver on Thursday with the puck in the neutral zone Canucks defenseman Alexander Edler caught Hertl in the head near the boards with his right side. Edler received a three-game suspension for the hit.

"The one in Vancouver that's just an illegal hit. It's as simple as that" Sharks coach Todd McLellan said Sunday. "The one (Saturday) night that's probably on Tomas more than anybody for stumbling and falling. It's hard to brace yourself that quick when you're off balance.

"He's learning how to play in the NHL. He's doing a pretty good job of it too. It'll take some trial and error but he'll keep getting better as the days go on."

Hertl has shown his value to the Sharks with one assist and an NHL-best seven goals in five games. He's also a plus-7 as he and linemates Joe Thornton and Brent Burns who also did not skate Sunday have been sound defensively.

"He'll learn. Obviously it's nothing too serious but you learn trial by fire" Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle said. "There are different areas on a rink where you just have to protect yourself. You want guys to sacrifice themselves but it doesn't do anybody any good if you're in the stands."

Hertl notched his seventh goal of the season to open the scoring just 55 seconds into Saturday's game. Ottawa scored the next two goals to take the lead but goals by Patrick Marleau in the second period and Burns in the third gave San Jose its fifth straight win.