Tonight the Colorado Avalanche will face the San Jose Sharks in the second of a two-game series. The first matchup was frustrating for the Avalanche as they gave up six unanswered goals in a 6-2 defeat. San Jose is hoping for more of the same this evening.
The Avalanche seem to be at a bit of a crossroads. Yes, they have faced the ire of injuries, yes young players are being called on to do more than initially planned, but the time for excuses has passed. The Avalanche should dominate the San Jose Sharks on paper, but names on a paper won’t win you games. It still takes a mindset and resiliency to succeed in the NHL, no matter who’s on your roster.
The good in recent games has to be the performance of Avalanche defender Sam Girard. Sam doesn’t get the attention he deserves because he plays with the other best young defender in the NHL in Cale Makar, but with Cale out, we’ve seen just how vital Sam is to this team.
Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Mikko Rantanen
Brandon Saad - Nazem Kadri - Valeri Nichushkin
Andre Burakovsky - J.T. Compher - Joonas Donskoi
Logan O’Connor - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Tyson Jost
Ryan Graves - Samuel Girard
Devon Toews - Jacob MacDonald
Daniel Renouf - Conor Timmins
San Jose Sharks
This season has been relatively disappointing for the Sharks outside of their victory on Monday. The Sharks are bottom feeders in goals allowed per game, the penalty kill, and have a -14 goal differential.
The Sharks got points from eleven different players on Monday, including a three-point performance from Sharks forward Timo Meir.
Evander Kane - Logan Couture - Kevin Labanc
Rudolfs Balcers - Dylan Gambrell - Timo Meier
John Leonard - Patrick Marleau - Ryan Donato
Matt Nieto - Alexander True - Marcus Sorensen
Mario Ferraro - Brent Burns
Radim Simek - Erik Karlsson
Nikolai Knyzhov - Marc-Edouard Vlasic
The Avalanche will go with Philipp Grubauer again in net tonight. Aside from giving up five in his last performance, he has looked like one of the NHL’s best tenders to start the season. He’s fourth in the NHL with a 2.20 GAA and is posting a .915 save percentage.
The Sharks will likely ride with Martin Jones in net again after Monday’s victory. Jones has had a relatively difficult time in net this season for the Sharks with a .883 save percentage and a GAA of 3.70.