Tonight the Colorado Avalanche and San Jose Sharks are set to drop the puck at Ball Arena in Denver, CO. The Avalanche have lost three straight, including an overtime loss against the Seattle Kraken on Sunday night. The Sharks have the second-worst record in the western conference but won in overtime against the Winnipeg Jets just last night. Will they prove pesky for a desperate Avalanche team too?
Injuries have dominated the Avalanche season's dialogue, which continues this week. With Josh Manson and Erik Johnson out of the lineup, newly acquired Jack Johnson will have to continue playing more minutes in an elevated role. If only the Avalanche had one more depth defender. That said, we have seen a video of Erik Johnson skating and moving quite well for a defender that supposedly broke his ankle.
Erik Johnson is back on the and moving very well.— Jesse Montano (@jessemontano_) March 7, 2023
I’m starting to think this is why they didn’t bring in a defenseman at the deadline. EJ may be closer to returning than we thought. #Avs pic.twitter.com/VGxDtTNJv5
Artturi Lehkonen — Nathan MacKinnon — Valeri Nichushkin
Matt Nieto — JT Compher — Mikko Rantanen
Andrew Cogliano — Lars Eller — Logan O'Connor
Denis Malgin — Alex Newhook — Evan Rodrigues
Devon Toews — Cale Makar
Samuel Girard — Bowen Byram
Jack Johnson — Brad Hunt
San Jose Sharks
As previously mentioned, the Sharks are NHL bottom-feeders but not without talent. Erik Karlsson is mounting quite an impressive campaign for the Norris Trophy awarded to the NHL's best defender. He leads all defensemen with a whopping 82 points in 64 games played, tying his previous season's high with 18 more games.
Generating 2 assists in his team's 3-2 overtime win vs the Jets on Monday night, Erik Karlsson is now ensured a point-per-game season thanks to having 82. Doing so in the @SanJoseSharks 64th game of 2022-23, he now sits 6th on this (post-Bobby Orr) list of high scoring defencemen pic.twitter.com/tRDCBIddFu— StatsCentre (@StatsCentre) March 7, 2023
William Eklund — Tomas Hertl — Fabian Zetterlund
Andreas Johnsson — Logan Couture — Alexander Barabanov
Noah Gregor — Nico Sturm — Evgeny Svechnikov
Oskar Lindblom — Steven Lorentz — Kevin Labanc
Nokolai Knyzhov — Erik Karlsson
Marc-Edouard Vlasic — Matt Benning
Mario Ferraro — Jacob MacDonald
Kaapo Kahkonen and Alexandar Georgiev are the unconfirmed starters for tonight's game. Kahkonen is 8-14 this season with a .882 SV% and 3.68 GAA. Hopefully, the Avalanche can exploit a team destined for the draft lottery.