Currently riding their longest winning streak in a decade, the Colorado Avalanche hit the ice tonight looking to for their eighth straight victory.
Coming to town are the San Jose Sharks who are riding a hot streak of their own. Having won three straight and gaining points in eight of their past ten games, the Sharks currently sit second in the Pacific division and will be looking to close the cap on the conference-leading Vegas Golden Knights.
A win for the Avalanche would push them within a point of the Calgary Flames, who currently sit in the last playoff spot in the West.
The Avalanche come into this game flying high on the back of strong goaltending from Jonathan Bernier who is 6-0 since inheriting the starter role thanks to another Semyon Varlamov injury. Bernier has only let in 7 goals in that span and is riding a save percentage north of .950.
Outside of the crease, Nathan MacKinnon is no longer sneaking up on the rest of the league. He has turned himself into a legitimate Hart Trophy candidate and currently leads the NHL in primary points. His line has been incredible for the team, even when lining up against the top .opposition
Despite the winning ways, the team can’t seem to catch a break from an injury perspective. Just as J.T. Compher is set to return from an upper-body injury, fellow rookie Tyson Jost will be lost from the lineup. Jost took a shot to the foot in Monday’s game against the Ducks and hasn’t been able to practice with the team since.
We are going to see Compher line up on the wing with Alex Kerfoot, while recent callup Dominic Toninato will fill in as the 4th line center.
Sven Andrighetto and Tyson Barrie have been skating separately from the team, but neither is close to getting back into the lineup
A.J. Greer and David Warsofsky are the healthy scratches tonight.
Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan Mackinnon- Mikko Rantanen
J.T. Compher - Alexander Kerfoot - Nail Yakupov
Matthew Nieto - Carl Soderberg - Blake Comeau
Colin Wilson - Dominic Toninato - Gabriel Bourque
Nikita Zadorov - Erik Johnson
Patrik Nemeth - Mark Barberio
Samuel Girard - Anton Lindholm
San Jose Sharks
Just when you think it’s finally going to be the season that the San Jose Sharks take a step back, they roll into town as one of the top teams in the Western Conference.
They’re not the offensive juggernaut they once were, but that’s ok since Joe Thornton & crew have given up the third fewest goals int he NHL this season behind only Tampa Bay and Los Angeles.
Thornton, Logan Couture, and Joe Pavelski continue to hold down the fort as the Sharks re-build on the fly. They are still playing at a very high level while youngsters like Kevin Lebanc, Timo Meier, and Tomas Hertl develop into legitimate top-6 forwards.
Leading the team with 34 points, Brent Burns continues to be an anomaly in a league that doesn’t seem to like when defensemen take risks.
Timo Meier - Joe Thornton - Joe Pavelski
Tomas Hertl - Logan Couture - Kevin Labanc
Mikkel Boedker - Chris Tierney - Joonas Donskoi
Barclay Goodrow - Joel Ward - Melker Karlsson
Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Justin Braun
Joakim Ryan - Brent Burns
Brenden Dillon - Dylan Demelo
Jonathan Bernier is going to get his sixth straight start for the Avs. He has had an up and down season, but during this winning streak, he has been simply incredible. He is currently playing the best hockey of his career and has been the key contributor to the team’s recent success. Bernier is 11-7-1 on the season with a .915 sv%.
For the Sharks, Martin Jones is expected to get the start. San Jose’s starter has been decent this season but has been outplayed by his ‘backup’ Aaron Dell. Jones comes into the game with a 14-10-1 record, sporting a .913 sv%.
How to Watch/Listen
The game will be broadcast on Altitude Sports as well as NBC Sports-California at 7pm MST.
For those who prefer the radio experience, as always, the game can be heard on Altitude Sports Radio 950.