Colorado Avalanche - (11-6-1 : 23 points)
San Jose Sharks - (7-9-2 : 16 points)
Puck Drop - 7:15 P.M. MT
Watch - ALT, NBCSCA
Listen - [RADIO] Altitude 92.5, AM 950
The Colorado Avalanche are back to their winning ways after a two game sweep of the Arizona Coyotes. The Avalanche looked dominant in the victories at the Gila River Arena and should continue that trend against a San Jose team struggling to keep the puck out of the back of their own net.
The Avalanche dismantled the Coyotes in their most recent game, 6-2, with six different goal scorers lighting the lamp for Colorado. It was a milestone game for many Avalanche skaters, with Tyson Jost and P-E Bellemare scoring the first goals of their seasons as well as captain Gabriel Landeskog netting the 202nd goal of his Avalanche career, tying him on the all-time list with Peter Forsberg.
Surprisingly, this offensive outburst came without the services of Cale Makar. Makar was ruled out of the victory over the Coyotes before game time and coach Jared Bednar stated that he “probably” won’t play for the rest of the Avalanche road trip. This is a big loss for the blue-line group, as Makar has been one of the best defenders in the league so far this season.
During the off-day, the team announced their player of the month for February - Mikko Rantanen!
The team also celebrated the birthday of head coach Bednar on Sunday.
Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Mikko Rantanen
Brandon Saad - Nazem Kadri - Joonas Donskoi
Andre Burakovsky - JT Compher - Valeri Nichushkin
Matt Calvert - P.E. Bellemare - Tyson Jost
Devon Toews - Sam Girard
Bowen Byram - Ryan Graves
Jacob MacDonald - Dan Renouf/Connor Timmins
San Jose Sharks
The Sharks head into their matchup with the Avalanche on the back of a wild loss to the St. Louis Blues Saturday night. The 7-6 loss was highlighted by a lot of goals and a certain Blues goaltender having an absolute meltdown when he got pulled half way through the second period.
The theatrics from Jordan Binnington doesn’t change the narrative around the current state of the Sharks; they possess an extremely leaky defense that has allowed 17 goals in their last three games. This is a bad time to be struggling on defense as they face back to back series against Colorado and Vegas. With Colorado flying after their series with Arizona, it could be a long series for Shark goaltenders.
The Sharks will likely still be without Tomas Hertl, who tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss two weeks while in quarantine.
Projected Lineups (from Fear the Fin)
Evander Kane - Logan Couture - Kevin LaBanc
Timo Meier - Dylan Gambrell - Rudolfs Balcers
Ryan Donato - Patrick Marleau - John Leonard
Matt Nieto - Alexander Chmelevski - Noah Gregor
Mario Ferraro - Brett Burns
Radim Simek - Erik Karlsson
Nikolai Knyzhov - Marc-Eduoard Vlasic
Grubauer looks to continue his fine form and heavy workload while Pavel Francouz is out. Grubauer is coming off a solid, but unspectacular win over the Coyotes. The Avalanche netminder is currently 10-5-0 with a 2.01 GAA and .923 save percentage in 15 starts. The Sharks have the seasoned tandem of Dubnyk and Jones to choose from. Neither choice should inspire much confidence for San Jose. Dubnyk has been marginally better statistically in his nine starts, going 1-4-1 with a 3.46 GAA and .892 save percentage. Jones has been more fortunate in the win column, posting a 6-5-1 record, but with a horrid 3.85 GAA and .877 save percentage. Head coach Bob Boughner will likely give each goalie a start in the two game set, with Dubnyk being the likely choice in game one.