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Game 63 Preview: Sharks @ Avalanche

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After splitting a weekend trip to Canada, the Avalanche (31-27-4) return home to take on the San Jose Sharks (32-21-5) in their final game before the Stadium Series.

John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

With all the buzz building up around the Avs' outdoor matchup in the Stadium Series this weekend, it may be easy to forget that the Avalanche still have a game Wednesday night. One player that is not forgetting about the game Wednesday is newly acquired Avalanche forward, Shawn Matthias. The 28-year-old was acquired from the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday in exchange for a fourth round draft pick in the upcoming draft and forward Colin Smith. Matthias adds some size to the Avalanche's third line at 6-foot-4 and 231 pounds as well as a bit of a scoring touch as he is a year removed from an 18-goal campaign with the Vancouver Canucks. Despite not practicing with the team Tuesday due to immigration troubles, he is expected to play Wednesday night with Carl Soderberg and Blake Comeau as the Avs look to rebound from a well played 5-1 loss against the Canucks on Sunday night.

The last time the Avalanche surrendered five goals was their last outing against their Wednesday opponent, the San Jose Sharks on January 26th. The Sharks find themselves in the midst of a three team dog fight for the top spot in the Pacific Division. With the Kings, Ducks, and Sharks all comfortably ahead of the rest of the Pacific Division competition (aka Canada and the Coyotes), the gauntlet to the end of the season will decide who gets to play a wild card team in the opening round and who are stuck playing each other. While very much in that race for the top spot at three points behind the division leading Kings, the Sharks may find it hard to make that push with their current struggles on home ice, where only the Canucks hold a worse record at home in the Western Conference. Those home woes won't be a problem Wednesday against the Avalanche, however, as the Sharks come into Denver with the best road record in the Western Conference and will look to spoil the Avs' final home game before the weekend festivities.

LINES

Tanguay-MacKinnon-Landeskog

Grigorenko-Duchene-Iginla

Matthias-Soderberg-Comeau

McLeod-Mitchell-Skille

Beauchemin-Johnson

Holden-Barrie

Bigras-Bodnarchuk

Pickard

Varlamov

Scratches: Wagner, Redmond

NOTES

Andreas Martinsen was sent down Tuesday to make roster room for Shawn Matthias.

- The flu has returned to the Avalanche locker room as both Nathan MacKinnon and Semyon Varlamov missed practice Tuesday. Both players are expected to dress Wednesday night, however, with Varly serving as Calvin Pickard's backup.

- The Sharks lead the league in road power play goals with 24 on the year.

GAME INFO

Game time: 8pm MT

TV: NBCSN, SN

Game Stream: Found Here