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Colorado Avalanche Game Day: Beating Up on the Baby Sharks

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The Avalanche look to build off of balanced offensive attack in a rematch with the San Jose Sharks.

NHL: San Jose Sharks at Colorado Avalanche Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Colorado Avalanche: 4-3-0

San Jose Sharks: 3-4-0

Puck Drop: 7:00 p.m. MT

Watch: Altitude, NBCSCA

Listen: Altitude 92.5, AM 950

The Colorado Avalanche will face off in their second contest against the San Jose Sharks this evening and will look to build off of a strong, balanced offensive attack from Tuesday night that saw 14 different Avalanche players register a point.

Colorado Avalanche

The Avalanche finally had their breakthrough game with many of the lucky bounces that had eluded them in frustrating losses on the road last week finally come their way. A player from each forward line was able to register a point in some capacity and most importantly, the depth scoring finally began to show — and it showed in bunches as the second and third lines accounted for four of the team’s seven goals on the night. The team will look to build on this strong, balanced play from their middle six.

The Avs were dealt a dose of unfortunate news on the injury front on Wednesday as Head Coach Jared Bednar announced that forward Matt Calvert’s injury status has been downgraded from day-to-day to out indefinitely (upper body). The Avs will sorely miss Calvert as he has been a steady, hard-nosed presence on the team and was fifth in total ice time per game prior to missing Tuesday’s contest. Let’s hope his injury is nothing too serious and that he is able to get back into the lineup relatively soon.

Something to keep an eye on is how Coach Bednar decides to shuffle his defensive pairings prior to game time. Defenseman Ryan Graves was dealt a game misconduct penalty in the late stages of Tuesday’s 7-3 blowout win. The penalty came moments after Graves was sent off to the penalty box for his second hooking call of the game — to which he took issue and made it known to the officials. This is a bad look for a player who appears to be on thin ice with his coach. Graves logged exactly 15 minutes of ice time on Tuesday night — the lowest total of all Avs defensemen. While Bednar wouldn’t comment on the specifics of what his lineup would be, it wouldn’t be surprising of we saw Conor Timmins get the nod in favor of Graves tonight.

On a positive note, forward Mikko Rantanen is riding a six-game goal streak heading into tonight’s game and will look to continue his hot steak. With his goal on Tuesday, Rantanen entered elite company as only the fifth Avalanche player since the inaugural 1995-96 season to register a goal in six straight games.

Let’s hope the sound crew at Ball Arena gets ample opportunity to blast Baby Shark from the speakers as the Avs skate off with another win.

Projected Lines

Forwards

Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Mikko Rantanen

Brandon Saad - Nazem Kadri - Andre Burakovsky

Joonas Donskoi - JT Compher - Valeri Nichushkin

Tyson Jost - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Kiefer Sherwood

Defense

Devon Toews - Cale Makar

Bowen Byram - Samuel Girard

Ryan Graves - Erik Johnson

Goaltenders

Philipp Grubauer

Hunter Miska

San Jose Sharks

The San Jose Sharks will be playing in their eighth straight road game to start the season tonight. So far, the team has been unable to play games at their home SAP Center due to local COVID-19 restrictions set in place by Santa Clara County officials. This has forced the Sharks to start (and remain) on the road in the early going.

The team will be playing a set of games on February 1st and 3rd in Glendale, Arizona when they face off against the Vegas Golden Knights. These two contests will serve as “home” games for the Sharks squad. The team did, however, receive a dose of good news on Wednesday as it was announced that they will be able to return to SAP center beginning February 13th for their game against the Anaheim Ducks and the remaining 2020-21 home games.

The Avalanche chased Goaltender Martin Jones from the net on Tuesday night as they potted five goals on 19 total shots. Backup Devin Dubnyk stopped 21 of 23 shots in relief. Neither Jones nor Dubnyk have been stellar to start the season so it’s basically a toss up for who will be backstopping the Sharks tonight. Our bet: Dubnyk.

Projected Lines (According to Fear the Fin)

Forwards

Ryan Donato - Logan Couture - Kevin Lebanc

John Leonard - Tomas Hertl - Evander Kane

Noah Gregor - Dylan Gambrell - Timo Meier

Marcus Sorensen - Patrick Marleau - Matt Nieto

Defense

Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Brent Burns

Mario Ferraro - Erik Karlsson

Nikolai Knyzhov - Radim Simek

Goaltenders

Devin Dubnyk

Martin Jones