NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, March 29th
(All times Eastern)
San Jose Sharks (47-19-9) at Colorado Avalanche (46-21-6), 3 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The playoff-bound San Jose Sharks will try to aid their
Pacific Division title chances when they visit the Colorado Avalanche for
Saturday's matinee battle at Pepsi Center.
The Sharks secured a postseason berth with the point gained in Monday's
shootout loss in Calgary, but are still locked in close battle with Anaheim
for the division crown. The Ducks are a point back of San Jose for the
division lead and hold two games in hand over the Sharks, who have seven games
remaining in the regular season.
Anaheim is in action later on Saturday when it visits the Vancouver Canucks.
Colorado, meanwhile, is close to clinching its first playoff berth since 2010.
The Avs own a 17-point lead over the Dallas Stars, who sit ninth overall in
the Western Conference playoff race with nine games left for both teams.
Colorado has 10 more non-shootout wins than Dallas, so a single point in
today's game for the Avs would clinch a playoff spot.
The Stars also are in action later on Saturday night as they visit the St.
The Avalanche sit one point behind the Chicago Blackhawks for second place in
the Central Division and have won two straight on the heels of a three-game
skid, picking up both recent victories after regulation. The Avs posted a 5-4
shootout win in Nashville on Tuesday before recording Thursday's 3-2 overtime
decision against visiting Vancouver.
Tyson Barrie scored the winner 55 seconds into OT to lift the Avalanche to
just their third win in seven games. In the extra session, Matt Duchene
circled around the left boards to get clear of defenders before firing a pass
to the front of the net where Barrie tipped it home for the win.
"Two of their guys went to Duchene and I went to the net," said Barrie of the
goal. "He sent me a great pass and I was just glad to get it in. That was a
real tough game."
Duchene had a goal and an assist while Gabriel Landeskog also had a goal for
the Avalanche. Semyon Varlamov stopped 29 shots in the win.
Colorado is completing a brief two-game homestand on Saturday and is 24-11-3
in Denver this season. After today's game against the Sharks, the Avs will
play six of their last eight regular-season away from the Mile High City.
The Avalanche have won three straight and four of the last five home tests
against San Jose, but Colorado has not fared well in the series overall. The
Sharks have claimed five of seven and 17 of the last 24 encounters in this
The clubs have split the first two of four encounters in 2013-14 and will
complete the season series on April 11 in San Jose.
The Sharks lost for the fourth time in six games when it hosted the Winnipeg
Jets on Thursday. San Jose led 2-1 after 20 minutes, but Winnipeg scored three
of the game's final four goals to claim a 4-3 decision. Tobias Enstrom scored
the winner for the Jets with 3:36 left in the third period.
Dan Boyle, Logan Couture and Brent Burns scored for the Sharks, while Antti
Niemi turned away 27 shots in a losing effort.
"We can't give away points," Sharks forward Joe Pavelski said. "We've given
away a few too many lately. (The Ducks have) the games in hand. If they do
their job, they'll be there, but there's still quite a bit of hockey left."
San Jose is on the road for one game before returning to Silicon Valley for
three straight at the Shark Tank, beginning with Tuesday's meeting against
Edmonton. The Sharks are 21-13-4 on the road this season compared to a 26-6-5
mark in Northern California.
03/29 10:27:22 ET