Dec 23, 2013; San Jose, CA, USA; Colorado Avalanche left wing Gabriel Landeskog (92) tries to control the puck while be defended by San Jose Sharks defenseman Matt Irwin (52) during the second period at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

Sharks Look To Get Back On Right Track, Face Avalanche: Game Preview

Both the San Jose Sharks and Colorado Avalanche have clinched playoff spots and home ice advantage in the first round; however, this game matters a bit more to the Avalanche than the Sharks.

San Jose is guaranteed to finish in second in the Pacific Division and face the Kings in the first round, but the Avalanche are currently in a tight battle with the Blues for first in the Central. Both the Avalanche and Blues have 111 points, and Colorado owns the tiebreaker with two games left to play. You bet the Avalanche will be playing hard to clinch first place, so the Sharks have an opportunity to play the role of spoiler here.

It will be interesting to see whether Todd McLellan decides to play all of his top players. With less than a week until the playoffs begin and the Sharks’ position already locked up, it may be better served to rest some guys and make sure everyone is fresh heading into what will be a grueling series against the Kings. However, the Sharks are probably looking to get a win just to gain some self-confidence after dropping two straight to the Predators and Ducks.

In their last meeting, the Sharks fell to the Avalanche 3-2 back on Mar. 29. They are 1-2 against the Avalanche this season.

Tale of the Tape

Sharks:

  • Goals for per game: 2.89 (7th)
  • Goals against per game: 2.38 (6th)
  • Shots per game: 34.9 (1st)
  • Shots against per game: 27.7 (6th)
  • Penalty minutes: 731 (5th)
  • Power play percentage: 17.1% (19th)
  • Penalty kill percentage: 84.7% (7th)

Avalanche:

  • Goals for per game: 3.01 (4th)
  • Goals against per game: 2.61 (T-14th)
  • Shots per game: 29.9 (20th)
  • Shots against per game: 32.6 (25th)
  • Penalty minutes: 869 (17th)
  • Power play percentage: 20.0% (7th)
  • Penalty kill percentage: 80.4% (24th)

Top Performers

Sharks: Joe Pavelski (39 G, 38 A), Joe Thornton (11 G, 63 A), Patrick Marleau (32 G, 35 A)

Avalanche: Matt Duchene (23 G, 47 A), Gabriel Landeskog (26 G, 39 A), Ryan O’Reilly (28 G, 35 A)

Injury Report

Sharks: Tomas Hertl (knee) and Adam Burish (hand), and Raffi Torres (knee) are out.

Avalanche: Matt Duchene (knee) is out. PA Parenteau (knee), Cody McLeod (ankle) and Cory Sarich (back) are day-to-day.

Probable Lines

SAN JOSE (49-22-9)

Forwards

Pavelski-Thornton-Burns

Marleau-Couture-Nieto

Wingels-Sheppard-Kennedy

Brown-Desjardins-Havlat

Defensemen

Vlasic-Demers

Irwin-Boyle

Stuart-Braun

Goalies

Niemi

Stalock

COLORADO (52-21-7)

Forwards

Landeskog-Stastny-Mitchell

O’Reilly-Mackinnon-McGinn

Bordeleau-Cliche-Talbot

Wilson-Malone-Carey

Defensemen

Hejda-Johnson

Barrie-Guenin

Holden-Benoit

Goalies

Varlamov

Gigere

Game Info

Opening Face-off: 7:00 PM PST

Location: SAP Center, San Jose, CA

TV: NBCSN

Tags: San Jose Sharks

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