NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Tuesday, March 1st
(All times eastern)
Colorado Avalanche (26-30-7) at San Jose Sharks (36-21-6), 10:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - San Jose's current six-game winning streak has featured
five one-goal victories. The only one not to be decided by the slim margin
came in a visit from Colorado.
The Sharks aim for a repeat of that performance as they try to extend their
longest winning streak of the season in the opener of a six-game homestand
tonight against the Avalanche at HP Pavilion.
San Jose has been one of the hottest teams in the NHL over the last month,
winning six straight while going 11-2-0 in February and 15-2-1 in its last 18
games. That has helped put the Sharks at the top of the Pacific Division, two
points up on the Coyotes.
The Sharks went beyond regulation for the third time on their winning streak
Friday, escaping Calgary with a 4-3 shootout win to wrap a perfect three-game
road trip. Ryan Clowe tied the game late in regulation, then had the shootout
winner for San Jose.
Devin Setoguchi and Kyle Wellwood also scored and Antti Niemi made 21 saves.
"Points are big right now and we knew we had to get two," said Wellwood.
"Niemi was big for us tonight as he made some huge saves and was able to pull
us through some rough stretches."
San Jose was without defenseman Dan Boyle for the first time this season due
to an upper-body injury. He is questionable for tonight, while defenseman Kent
Huskins (undisclosed) and forward Scott Nichol (upper body) remain out with
The Sharks have not lost at home since Jan. 13, winning five in a row, and
have bested the Avalanche in five straight and seven of their last eight trips
to San Jose.
Setoguchi notched his first career hat trick and Niemi logged his fifth
shutout of the season when clubs met on Feb. 19 in San Jose, a 4-0 victory for
the Sharks. Niemi is 2-1-1 with a 2.45 goals-against average versus the Avs.
Colorado hasn't won at HP Pavilion since Feb. 6, 2008 and has dropped four of
six and eight of the last 11 overall in this series.
The Avalanche have lost three straight and 13 of their last 14 to fall into
14th place in the West and 13 points out of a playoff spot. Their most recent
setback came on Sunday, a 3-2 loss in Anaheim that dropped Colorado to 0-2 on
a three-game road trip.
Kevin Porter and David Jones scored, while Peter Budaj made 29 saves in
defeat, Colorado's seventh in its last eight on the road.
"I think tonight was a much better effort than [Saturday]," Budaj said. "I
thought we played with passion. We worked hard and we were in the game
tonight. Obviously it wasn't good enough because this game is played for wins
and losses, but I think it's a good step towards where we want to be."
Despite its recent skid, the Avalanche made just one trade prior to Monday's
deadline, but it involved a pair of minor leaguers. Of course, Colorado had
already shook up its roster over a week ago, acquiring Jay McClement, Erik
Johnson and Brian Elliott in two separate trades for Chris Stewart, Kevin
Shattenkirk and Craig Anderson.
It is unknown if Budaj will get the call tonight or if Elliott will draw his
third start with his new club. Elliott has dropped the first two with a 4.53
GAA and lost his only other career start versus the Sharks, while Budaj is
3-6-1 against them with a 3.09 GAA.
03/01 11:02:01 ET