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

32 SOG
26 SOG
1st2nd3rdT
SJS
COL
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Sharks-Avalanche Preview

Wednesday, 04.05.2006 / 5:00 PM

Associated Press

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Sharks-Avalanche Preview
San Jose Sharks vs. Colorado Avalanche

GAME: San Jose Sharks (37-26-11) at Colorado Avalanche (41-26-8).

TIME: Wednesday, 9 p.m. EDT.

The Colorado Avalanche look to extend their home point streak to eight games and continue their push for the Northwest Division title when they face the San Jose Sharks, who are battling just to make the playoffs.

Colorado looked to be on its way to a costly loss Monday before scoring two goals in the final minute to defeat Chicago 4-3 at the Pepsi Center. Rob Blake scored a power-play goal with 58 seconds left Monday and Dan Hinote got the winner with 12 seconds remaining for the Avalanche, who are three points behind Calgary for the Northwest title and the third seed in the Western Conference.

"This was big because we needed these points," said Blake, who scored twice to become the 17th NHL defenseman with 200 goals. "I got a power play at the end and Danny made a strong move down the wall, put the puck to the net and it went in."

Colorado improved to 6-0-1 in its last seven in Denver.

The Avalanche are also battling Anaheim for the fifth spot in the West, and are only three points ahead of eighth-place Vancouver.

The Avs' remaining schedule could be an advantage for them, considering how well they have played at home recently. The Avalanche, who opened a five-game homestand Monday, are 13-2-3 at the Pepsi Center since the start of January.

Colorado's final three games, however, are on the road against Northwest opponents Calgary, Vancouver and Edmonton.

Andrew Brunette had a goal and an assist for Colorado on Monday while Joe Sakic added three assists to extend his point streak to 10 games, with eight goals and 12 assists in that span. Sakic is one goal shy of tying Hall of Famer Mike Bossy for 17th place on the career list with 573.

Colorado has lost two straight to San Jose and will try to even the season series at 2-2 in the final meeting between the teams. The Avalanche have won four of their last five home games against the Sharks, outscoring them 16-6.

The Sharks got a badly needed victory Monday night, defeating Dallas 3-2 in overtime. Joe Thornton scored a power-play goal with 20.2 seconds left in the extra period to end a three-game losing streak for San Jose, which is two points out of the final playoff spot.

"Hopefully we can look back and say that's how we got into the playoffs," said Thornton, who scored his first goal since March 9. "We had 20 guys show up tonight. We're hoping we can reel off three or four in a row and keep it rolling."

Thornton has two goals and two assists in two games against the Avalanche this season.

Patrick Marleau added a power-play goal and an assist and Ville Nieminen scored a short-handed goal for the Sharks, who outshot the Stars 34-18.

San Jose's three-game road trip concludes Thursday against the Los Angeles Kings, who are battling Vancouver and the Sharks for the final postseason berth.

STANDINGS: Sharks - 85 points, 3rd place (tied), 18 PB, Pacific Division. Avalanche - 90 points, 2nd place, 3 PB, Northwest Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Sharks - Jonathan Cheechoo, 46 goals; Thornton, 57 assists; Marleau, 82 points; Mark Smith, 93 PIM. Avalanche - Marek Svatos, 32 goals; Sakic, 51 assists and 81 points; Ian Laperriere, 109 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Sharks - Power play: 17.6 percent (78 for 442), 17th in NHL. Penalty killing: 81.2 percent (294 for 362), 21st. Avalanche - Power play: 19.5 percent (85 for 436), 5th. Penalty killing: 83.9 percent (339 for 404), 10th.

GOALTENDERS: Sharks - Evgeni Nabokov (15-18-7, 1 SO, 3.08); Vesa Toskala (17-7-4, 1, 2.72 GAA). Avalanche - Peter Budaj (13-9-6, 2, 2.86); Vitaly Kolesnik (3-3-0, 3.24).

SEASON SERIES: Sharks, 2-1.

LAST MEETING: March 19; Sharks, 6-5. At San Jose, Calif., Alyn McCauley's goal with 4:13 remaining snapped a tie, and Marleau scored twice for the Sharks.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Sharks - 15-18-4 on the road; Avalanche - 23-8-6 at home.

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