ST. LOUIS -- Rookie Tomas Hertl will be in the lineup tonight when the Sharks face the St. Louis Blues in a showdown of unbeaten NHL teams.

And the 19-year-old right wing might find himself lining up at times against one of his good friends from the Czech Republic. Blues left wing Vladimir Sobotka was a teammate of Hertl's on Praha Slavia during the NHL lockout a year ago, and the two trained together last summer.

Did Sobotka expect Hertl to have an immediate impact in the NHL with seven goals in five games?

"He's working hard and he's a good player, but nobody expected the start he's had," Sobotka said. "He's scoring goals, he's got great patience on the ice and he has speed on the ice. That's his advantage."

Sobotka was the player Hertl turned to before coming to San Jose when he had questions about the NHL and United States.

"What is it like? What's the life like here in the U.S?" Sobotka said Hertl asked him. "And I said it was going to be a little different in St. Louis than California, you know. But everyone has to go through this and I think he's doing a great job."

Sobotka, 26, tried to reassure Hertl as far as the language barrier.

"His English is not good," Sobotka said, "but I told him he should be fine in three months."

Hertl had to leave Saturday night's 3-2 win over the Ottawa Senators late in the second period after an awkward collision with left wing Clarke MacArthur. He did not return, but after two days of rest, coach Todd McLellan said the rookie is good to go.

For more on the Sharks, see David Pollak's Working the Corners blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/sharks. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/PollakOnSharks.