The San Jose Sharks can wrap up Round 2 earlier than anticipated with a road win in Denver against the Colorado Avalanche.
The series so far has been a roller coaster affair. Both teams have exchanged blows with the two clubs each recording statement victories in their opponents arena. Now with a 3 – 2 series lead, the San Jose Sharks can clinch a seat in the Western Conference Finals tonight at the Pepsi Center.
After falling in the 2nd round of last years Stanley Cup Playoffs, Team Teal can reach their first Western Conference Finals since the 2015 – 2016 campaign. However winning another game in Denver will be a difficult task, especially with the Avs season on the line.
The San Jose Sharks have seen plenty of Nathan MacKinnon and company during this series. MacKinnon, Landeskog, and Rananten all have averaged nearly 24 minutes of ice time. Coach Jared Bednar has signaled at morning skate that he plans on using them even more of them in Game 6. Team Teal will need a total team effort to slow down this desperate Colorado club.
They were successful in Game 5 suppressing the 3 of those skaters to only 5 shots total, per naturalstattrick. Marc-Edouard Vlasic did a very skilful job slowing down MacKinnon and will need to do it again tonight. However the Sharks should anticipate the Avalanche to use home ice and last change to get away from this match-up. It’ll be up to the Sharks depth to step up and limit the impact of this high-octane Avalanche offense.
In Game 6 the Sharks got big contributions from Tomas Hertl, Erik Karlsson, and Martin Jones. Having these 3 players clicking at this time of year spells bad news for teams hoping for a weakness on the San Jose Sharks. Even without their captain Joe Pavelski, Team Teal has seemingly rounded into a complete roster during the course of this series.
Speaking of Joe Pavelski the captain participated in morning skate on Monday morning and spoke to media regarding his health. He explained that he was close, but wouldn’t be available for Game 6, however he did note that he would be ready for a Game 7 if it is necessary.
That means that the Sharks will likely be icing the same lineup as Game 5 tonight in Denver. On the flip side of things the Avalanche have indicated that they are tweaking their lineup by using 11 forwards and 7 blueliners. Here’s a general idea of what to expect on the ice for both squads in Game 6.
San Jose Sharks
Timo Meier ~ Logan Couture ~ Gus Nyquist
Evander Kane ~ Tomas Hertl ~ Joonas Donskoi
Marcus Sorensen~ Joe Thornton ~ Kevin Labanc
Micheal Haley ~ Barclay Goodrow ~ Melker Karlsson
Marc-Edouard Vlasic ~ Brent Burns
Brenden Dillon ~ Erik Karlsson
Joakim Ryan ~ Justin Braun
Projected Starter ~ Martin Jones
Backup ~ Aaron Dell
Gabriel Landeskog~ Nathan MacKinnon ~ Mikko Rantanen
JT Compher ~ Carl Soderberg ~ Matt Nieto
Alexander Kerfoot ~ Tyson Jost ~ Colin Wilson
Patrick Nemeth ~ Derrick Brassard ~ Gabriel Bourque
Ian Cole ~ Erik Johnson
Nikita Zadorov ~ Tyson Barrie
Cale Makar ~ Samuel Girard
Projected Starter ~ Philipp Grubauer
Backup ~ Semyon Varlamov
The San Jose Sharks can avoid another Game 7 with a victory tonight versus the Avalanche. They’ll be in for a tough task with Nathan MacKinnon and company playing in desperation mode considering their surprising season will be on the line in front of their home crowd.
Puck drop for tonight’s game at the Pepsi Center is at 7:00 PM PT. The game will be televised nationally on NBCSN. The audio can be streamed on the NHL and Sharks Apps courtesy of 98.5 KFOX.