NHL Game Preview - Avalanche v Sharks

 
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2
Final 1 2 3 Tot
Colorado 1 1 0 2
San Jose 1 3 1 5
5
Sharks lead 1-0
Three Stars
1: Joe Thornton, SJ (1G, 1A)
2: Martin Jones, SJ (26 Saves)
3: Brent Burns, SJ (1G, 3A)
7:00 PM PT8:00 PM MT9:00 PM CT10:00 PM ET2:00 GMT10:00 7:00 PM MST9:00 PM EST6:00 UAE (+1)22:00 ET23:00 BRT, April 26, 2019
SAP Center at San Jose, San Jose, California  Attendance: 17,562

Sharks look to top Avalanche without the drama

Colorado Avalanche at San Jose Sharks

  1. The Sharks and Avalanche will meet in the postseason for the fifth time, with the Sharks winning each of the last two series, most recently by a 4-2 margin in the 2010 Western Conference Quarterfinals. The Avs have won just once in 15 trips to San Jose since the start of the 2010-11 regular season.
  2. Colorado defeated Calgary in five games in the First Round for the club's first postseason series victory since 2008. The Avalanche have not reached a Conference Final since 2002; they have been swept in each of their last two Conference Semifinal appearances (2008 vs Detroit; 2006 vs Anaheim).
  3. San Jose overcame a 3-1 series deficit to defeat Vegas in the First Round, including a three-goal comeback in the third period of Game 7. The Sharks scored four goals in a span of 4:01 during a five-minute power play, becoming the first team to score four goals in the same power play in a postseason game since the Blues did so against the Kings on April 27, 1998.
  4. Mikko Rantanen has multiple points in each of his last four games, including five goals over the last three games against the Flames. He looks to become the first Avs skater to tally five consecutive multi-point games in the same postseason since Peter Forsberg in 2002.
  5. Logan Couture and Tomas Hertl tallied six goals each in the series against Vegas, becoming just the third duo of teammates in the last 25 postseasons to each score six goals in the First Round. They join Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby (six) and Jake Guentzel (six), who did so in 2018, as well as the Pens' Jaromir Jagr (seven) and Luc Robitaille (six), who did so in 1995.
  6. The Avalanche allowed two goals or fewer in each of their four wins over the Flames; they went 27-4-4 (.829) when allowing two goals or fewer in the regular season. The Sharks scored at least three goals 62 times during the regular season, most in the NHL.

On the heels of their incredible comebacks - first to force a Game 7 and then win it in amazing fashion - the San Jose Sharks now must regroup and reload.

The reward for upending the Vegas Golden Knights in their opening-round Stanley Cup Playoff series is a date with the Colorado Avalanche, a team that needed just five games to convincingly oust the Western Conference champs, the Calgary Flames.

"I was watching almost every game between Colorado and Calgary, and they actually surprised me how well they played against Calgary," Sharks center Tomas Hertl told the San Jose Mercury News. "They were flying."

Game 1 of the best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal kicks off Thursday in San Jose, featuring a pair of clubs that surprisingly made it past the first round.

The Avalanche, who clinched the final wild card spot in the West, dominated the Flames in their series, led by the forward trio of Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog.

"You have to ready for their top line," Hertl said. "MacKinnon is one of the best players in the NHL. That line -- Rantanen, Landeskog -- they almost owned the series. Young team, a lot of speed and we have to be ready."

The Sharks trailed their series with Vegas 3-1 and then were down 3-0 nearing the midway point of the third period of Game 7 on Tuesday when they scored four power-play goals during a five-minute advantage, surrendered their lead in the final minute of regulation and then won on Barclay Goodrow's goal late in overtime.

"A once-in-a-lifetime game," Sharks forward Logan Couture said. "I don't think my heart can take another one like that."

San Jose captain Joe Pavelski was knocked from the game on the play that resulted in the major penalty, the result of hitting the back of his head on the ice.

Coach Pete DeBoer said on Thursday that Pavelski is day-to-day but unlikely to play in the opener.

San Jose won all three regular-season meetings between the clubs.

"They are a tough team, no question. They have given us trouble all year," Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar told NHL.com. "Playoffs is a different scenario, right? You start over from scratch, and it's best of seven. There are adjustments to be made in the middle of the series. Our goal will be to go in there and have a real good start and pick up where we left off against Calgary."

The Sharks and Avs have met four times in the playoffs, with each team winning twice. San Jose has claimed the past two series, the most recent one in 2010.

"I think not too many people would have us in this position at this point in the year, but I think in our room we believe," Bednar said. "I think one of the biggest things is if you want to win, you got to believe you can win. We have touched on that, based on last year's playoff performance and how we wanted to come into this year with a purpose. To me, it even has to go a step up now. Our guys should be confident based on the way we played down the stretch and then the playoffs."

Thanks to their long layoff between games, the Avalanche expect forward Derick Brassard (illness) back in the lineup for the opener, while defenseman Samuel Girard (upper body) is a possibility.

--Field Level Media

Updated April 25, 2019

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