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Colorado Avalanche Game Day: Looking to make it two in a row

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The Avalanche will look to build on yesterday’s win against the Sharks

NHL: San Jose Sharks at Colorado Avalanche Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Avalanche: (32-12-4)
The Opponent: San Jose Sharks (20-25-5)
Puck drop: 6:00 p.m. MT
Watch: ALT, NBCSCA+
Listen: [Radio] Altitude 92.5, AM 950

Though the Colorado Avalanche were able to end their losing streak with a 3-0 victory Friday night, the game could have been very costly. Both Ryan Graves and Samuel Girard left the game with potential injuries leaving a ton of question marks on the Avs blueline going forward.

With the win and a Vegas Golden Knights loss, the Avalanche have pulled themselves back to within four points of the top seed in the West with a game in hand. The Avs will look to close the gap even further with another win against the San Jose Sharks this evening.

This will be the second in a four game series against the lowly Sharks and at this point, staying healthy has to be the number one concern for the Avs.

Colorado Avalanche

Just as the Avalanche get Mikko Rantanen and Joonas Donskoi back to bolster the forward group, it looks like they’ve lost Samuel Girard and Ryan Graves on the back end - at last for tonight. Both defenders left last night’s game and while we don’t have an update on their status, neither is likely to suit up today.

There was some good news as both Mikko Rantanen and Philipp Grubauer looked great in their return from a COVID-related absence. Both showed why their presence in the lineup in a necessity if the team hopes to make a run in the playoffs.

Projected Lineup

Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Mikko Rantanen
Carl Soderberg - Nazem Kadri - Joonas Donskoi
Andre Burakovsky - Tyson Jost - Val Nichushkin
JT Compher - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Kiefer Sherwood

Cale Makar - Devon Toews

Patrik Nemeth - Conor Timmins

Jacob MacDonald - Kyle Burroughs (??)

San Jose Sharks

The Sharks showed last night why they are a bottom-feeder in the league working their way towards a high lottery pick. The team had very little push Friday night as they were only able to muster 21 shots on net while generating zero high-danger scoring chances at 5v5.

With the rookie in net tonight, the Sharks are going to need to give a much stronger effort if they want to have a chance tonight.

Projected Lineup

Alexander Barabanov — Tomas Hertl — Evander Kane
Rudolfs Balcers — Logan Couture — John Leonard
Kevin Labanc — Alexander True — Noah Gregor
Timo Meier — Patrick Marleau — Joachim Blichfeld

Mario Ferraro — Brent Burns
Nikolai Knyzhov — Erik Karlsson
Brinson Pasichnuk — Marc-Edouard Vlasic

Goaltending Matchup

With Grubauer going yesterday and Jonas Johansson assigned to the Eagles last night, Devan Dubnyk is likely to get the start tonight against his old team. Dubnky has not been good over his past few starts so hopefully the motivation of playing against his former teammates will fuel a better performance.

As for the Sharks, they will be starting Josef Korenar - a 23-year old rookie from the Czech Republic. Korenar has appeared in seven NHL games posting a .893 sv%.