ColoradoAvalanche.com web staff contributed to this report.
SHARKS (47-19-9) at AVALANCHE (46-21-6)
Altitude, CSN California, RDS2
San Jose 6-2-2; Colorado 5-4-1
This is the third of four games between the Sharks and Avalanche, with each team having won a game on home ice. Logan Couture's shootout goal powered the Sharks to a 5-4 win on Dec. 23, while Nathan MacKinnon scored twice on Jan. 4 to help the Avalanche to a 4-3 victory in Denver.
The Avalanche controls its fate in earning its first berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs since the 2009-10 season. A win or an overtime loss Saturday against San Jose would secure Colorado a spot in the NHL's postseason field for the first time in four years.
The Avalanche would also earn a postseason spot if Dallas loses in any fashion to St. Louis (6 p.m. MT) or if Minnesota defeats Phoenix in any fashion (7 p.m. MT).
Only seven games remain in San Jose's regular season, and it's battling with the Anaheim Ducks for the Pacific Division title. Anaheim has nine games left after its fell 4-3 Friday night in Edmonton.
"We have to win them all," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "I don't anticipate L.A. or Anaheim losing any games, so you have to win them all, and that's what the goal is. We've got to come in and perform well. I like that there's that pressure on us right to perform. It should keep us honest."
The Sharks have struggled this season against non-playoff teams, and the trend continued Thursday with a 4-3 home loss to Winnipeg. Five of San Jose's final seven games are against teams already in the playoffs.
Should this game require extra time to determine a winner San Jose might want to keep an eye on defenseman Tyson Barrie, who has developed into Colorado's secret weapon in overtime. His goal Thursday against the Canucks gave the Avalanche a 3-2 win and was his third OT score this season, the most by a defenseman in Avalanche/Nordiques history and the franchise's most by any player since David Jones had three in 2010-11.
Dustin Byfuglien, now of the Jets, is the only other NHL defenseman in the past six seasons to have three overtime goals in the same season.
"It is definitely exciting, and it always feels really good," Barrie said. "I don't know what it is. I must just be getting lucky to get some passes from guys in OT."
Forward Matt Duchene assisted on Barrie's winner, giving him a team-leading 70 points (23 goals, 47 assists).
"We want home ice--we're staying hungry," Duchene said. "Like it's been all year, we don't change. Winning should breed more winning, not complacency. We aren't thinking about when we're going to clinch as much as finishing with as many points as we can."
Brent Burns, in his first full season as a forward, extended a career high with his 21st goal for the Sharks on Thursday. … Avalanche forward Gabriel Landeskog has four goals in as many games, and Duchene has 17 points in 13 March games (four goals, 13 assists).
San Jose forward Adam Burish (finger) is out indefinitely, while forward Raffi Torres (soreness) hasn't played since March 8. Forward Tomas Hertl (knee) is on Injured Reserve. … Colorado forward John Mitchell (back) has missed the past four games and is day-to-day. Forward PA Parenteau (knee) is expected to miss the rest of the regular season, and Alex Tanguay (hip) is on IR.