The Sharks (28-16-8, 2nd Pacific) wrap up their road trip with a stop in Denver tonight to face the Avalanche (28-19-4, 6th Central) on their way home. The Sharks' recent history as been a tale of two teams, as they lost four straight following the loss of their bearded fearless leader, then won two in a row in convincing fashion over the weekend. They'll look to keep their winning ways rolling against a team that taught them a thing or two about humility last time around.
When last these two teams met, San Jose got spanked for three goals in the first period and never really recovered. Then again, the Avs were in the middle of their absurd ten game winning streak, Nathan MacKinnon was scoring at will, and all was peaches and roses in Denver. Less so today, as the Avalanche are coming off of a 3-0 loss to the Winnipeg Jets, have lost four of their last five, and are without the aforementioned MacKinnon, their leader in goals (24), assists (37), and (therefore) points (61) for the next five to seven weeks.
However, Colorado has won their last eight games at home, and San Jose is missing a pretty big piece of their own. They've had no shortage of scoring depth in Joe Thornton's absence, however, and Brent Burns is looking more like his Norris trophy winning self: he's second in the NHL in points since 3 November with 37, and sits on a shiny -13 in that span, as is tradition.
The Avs sit a measly four points behind the Sharks in the Western Conference's standings, but, due to the rank unfairness of the Central Division Thunderdome, sit in sixth place in their division and cling desperately to the second wild card spot. With the Pacific standings as tight as they are, this is a big game for both clubs in terms of standings position.
Go get 'em.
Tomas Hertl -- Logan Couture -- Kevin Labanc
Timo Meier -- Joe Pavelski -- Joonas Donskoi
Mikkel Boedker -- Chris Tierney -- Melker Karlsson
Barclay Goodrow -- Daniel O'Regan -- Joel Ward
Brent Burns -- Joakim Ryan
Marc-Edouard Vlasic -- Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon -- Dylan DeMelo
Scratched: Jannik Hansen, Tim Heed, Marcus Sorensen
Injured: Joe Thornton (knee)
Gabriel Landeskog -- Alexander Kerfoot -- Mikko Rantanen
Matt Nieto -- Carl Soderberg -- Blake Comeau
Tyson Jost -- J.T. Compher -- Nail Yakupov
Colin Wilson -- Dominic Toninato -- Gabriel Bourque
Nikita Zadorov -- Erik Johnson
Patrik Nemeth -- Tyson Barrie
Samuel Girard -- Anton Lindholm
Scratched: Andrei Mironov, A.J. Greer
Injured: Sven Andrighetto (lower body), Mark Barberio (lower body), Vladislav Kamenev (fractured arm), Nathan MacKinnon (upper body)
These lines presuppose the availability of Rantanen, who is a game time decision after missing the morning skate. If he can't go, Wilson will jump up to the top line and Greer will sub in onto the fourth. Often linked to the Sharks during his deliberations, Kerfoot is getting a chance to show his stuff with MacKinnon on the shelf, he'll have a lot to prove tonight and in the coming weeks.
Where to watch
Broadcast: NBCSCA, ALT
Stream: NHL.tv / NHL App
Radio: 98.5 KFOX / NHL App / Sharks App