The San Jose Sharks take on the Avalanche in Denver tonight, in the only NHL game scheduled today. The Sharks lost to Edmonton in a shootout in their first game of the season, but defeated Vancouver 3-1 for an overall record of 1-0-1.
Colorado began the year on a high note with a victory over the Dallas Stars led by a Paul Stastny hat trick and a Wojtek Wolski game-winner. Unfortunately, the very next night, the Avs let a late flight disrupt their rhythm and let the Predators shut them out 4-0 in Nashville.
The Sharks bring to tonight's game one of the league's most well-rounded rosters, even with the loss of Scott Hannan to the Avalanche during the free agency period. Joe Thornton still leads their offense and Evgeni Nabokov continues to supply the stability in net. They're a hard-working, hard-shooting team with tons of potential.
The Avalanche have a similarly deep roster, but they can't seem to make everyone work together. The top offensive line of Joe Sakic, Ryan Smyth and Milan Hejduk can't seem to find their form and still haven't registered a point. Paul Stastny's second line with Jaroslav Hlinka and Andrew Brunette looked perfect through the pre-season and the opening game against Dallas, but collapsed against Nashville. How much of that can be blamed on travel fatigue is unknown, but it's still a concern.
Also of concern to the Avalanche are the porous penalty kill units that still struggle to stop opposing attacks, especially from the point.
Hopefully tonight Peter Budaj will regain his strong form he showed in the first game of the season. He'll also need to better control his rebounds on long slap shots, something he's always had trouble doing.
The game starts at 5:00 PM Mountain Time. I'll be watching on Center Ice Online, and posting comments throughout the evening on this thread. I hope to see the rest of you contribute to the fun.