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Colorado
Avalanche
43-30-9
San Jose
Sharks
44-27-11

game preview

Avalanche-Sharks Preview

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 2:49 AM

Associated Press

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Avalanche-Sharks Preview
Colorado Avalanche vs. San Jose Sharks

GAME: Colorado Avalanche (37-24-6) at San Jose Sharks (32-23-10).

TIME: Sunday, 8 p.m. EST.

The San Jose Sharks look to finish a successful homestand when they host the Colorado Avalanche.

The Sharks won the first four games before falling to Dallas 4-3 in a shootout on Saturday.

San Jose battled back from a 2-0 deficit to earn a point for the sixth straight game, going 4-0-2 in that span.

"I'm not happy with the way we played in the first half of the game, but we took control and got a number of scoring opportunities," Sharks coach Ron Wilson said.

The Sharks trailed midway through the second period before Ville Nieminen, Pat Rissmiller and Milan Michalek scored in a 79-second span.

It was the first NHL goal for Rissmiller and the first goal in a Sharks uniform for Nieminen, acquired from the New York Rangers on March 9.

"We had a chance to win it, but they're one of the best teams in the NHL," Nieminen said of the Pacific Division-leading Stars. "We're disappointed, but we're glad to get a point and keep some of our momentum going."

Michalek has two goals and four assists in his last five games while Joe Thornton had an assist and now has two goals and 10 assists during a six-game points streak.

The Sharks are currently out of the top eight spots in the Western Conference, but their recent surge - done without starting goaltender Evgeni Nabokov, out with an abdominal injury - has moved them within striking distance.

"We are fortunate to have the point because of how we started the game," said Nieminen, who spent the first three seasons of his career with Colorado. "It is a huge point in the standings."

Following this contest, the Sharks leave for a five-game road trip, and will play 10 of their final 16 away from home.

The Avalanche haven't played since Monday, when they lost to Calgary 4-3 to slip to second place behind the Flames in the Northwest Division.

Colorado is in the middle of a five-game road swing, with the next three - San Jose, Los Angeles, Anaheim - against teams fighting for a playoff spot.

"We obviously needed those two points to send a message, not only to the Flames whom we might see in the postseason, but to the rest of the division and conference," Colorado forward Dan Hinote said after the loss to the Flames. "We realize we're not where we want, which is that top spot, which we had yesterday. We've still got a lot of work to do."

Joe Sakic scored for Colorado against the Flames. Thirteen of his 23 goals this season have come on the road.

Colorado has won seven of the last nine meetings in San Jose and nine of the last 12 with the Sharks overall.

STANDINGS: Avalanche - 80 points, 2nd place, 2 PB, Northwest Division. Sharks - 74 points, 4th place, 19 PB, Pacific Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Avalanche - Marek Svatos, 32 goals; Alex Tanguay, 48 assists and 74 points; Ian Laperriere, 103 PIM. Sharks - Jonathan Cheechoo, 41 goals; Joe Thornton, 73 assists and 98 points; Mark Smith, 83 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Avalanche - Power play: 19.6 percent (79 for 404), 5th in NHL. Penalty killing: 84.5 percent (306 for 362), 7th. Sharks - Power play: 17.5 percent (69 for 394), 18th. Penalty killing: 81.4 percent (260 for 321), 21st.

GOALTENDERS: Avalanche - Peter Budaj (9-7-4, 1 SO, 2.60 GAA); Vitaly Kolesnik (3-3-0, 3.29). Sharks - Vesa Toskala (13-6-3, 2.85); Nabokov (14-16-7, 1, 2.98).

SEASON SERIES: 1-1.

LAST MEETING: Dec. 30; Sharks, 5-2. At San Jose, Calif., Joe Thornton scored two goals to help San Jose snap a four-game losing streak.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Avalanche - 16-16-1 on the road; Sharks - 21-7-6 at home.

2005-2006 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Apr 05 '06 SJS 2 at COL 1 M. Goc
Mar 19 '06 COL 5 at SJS 6 A. McCauley
Dec 30 '05 COL 2 at SJS 5 S. Thornton
Nov 08 '05 SJS 2 at COL 5 M. Svatos
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