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Colorado
Avalanche
44-31-7
San Jose
Sharks
51-26-5

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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

It wasn't quite perfect, but the San Jose Sharks have to be very satisfied with their recent four-game road trip.

The Sharks return home to try and extend their home win streak to six games Thursday when they face the slumping Colorado Avalanche.

San Jose (20-8-0) won the first three games of its trip, outscoring St. Louis, Minnesota and Detroit 7-3 before falling 1-0 at Dallas on Monday.

The loss ended the Sharks' season-high five-game win streak and was only their eighth overall this season. Only Buffalo, with six, has fewer in the NHL.

Despite being at the end of a road trip, San Jose showed no sings of fatigue against Dallas, registering a 19-8 shots advantage over the final two periods.

"Marty Turco had a great night, five or six huge saves," San Jose coach Ron Wilson said. "We just couldn't finish and a lot of it had to do with him."

Evgeni Nabokov was the tough-luck loser, allowing only Mike Modano's first-period power-play goal. Nabokov surrendered one goal or fewer for the third straight game.

Vesa Toskala, the likely starter for this game, has conceded just six goals during a personal four-game win streak. Nabokov and Toskala have combined for a league-best 2.10 goals-against average.

Winning with defense has become the norm for the Sharks, who haven't received much production from top forwards Joe Thornton and Jonathan Cheechoo of late. Thornton has no points in four games, while Cheechoo, who recently returned after missing more than two weeks with a leg injury, has two goals in his past 13 contests.

San Jose plays nine of its next 10 games at HP Pavilion, where it is 9-2-0.

Colorado (12-13-2) will try to rebound following Tuesday's 3-0 loss to Columbus, which owns the league's worst record.

"The kind of game we played is just unacceptable," Avalanche defenseman John-Michael Liles said. "It's not just acceptable on our part. Just a bad game."

The Avalanche, who have lost three of their last four, are last in the Northwest Division and would not make the playoffs if the season ended Wednesday. The Quebec-Colorado franchise has reached the playoffs in 11 consecutive seasons.

Several of Colorado's top players are struggling to produce.

Captain Joe Sakic has gone seven games without a goal, while left wing Andrew Brunette has gone 13 without scoring.

"I know I've got to play better," said Brunette, who has seven goals this season after netting a career-high 24 in 2005-06. "I haven't been playing great. There's times during the year when that happens, and it's probably extended a little bit longer than I'd like it to."

Colorado activated Pierre Turgeon from the injury list Thursday after he missed the first 27 games following offseason shoulder surgery. The 37-year-old forward is beginning his 19th season in the NHL and ranks 31st in goals (511), 26th in assists (809) and 27th in points (1,320).

Starting goaltender Jose Theodore missed Tuesday's game with a hip flexor, but practiced Monday and could start either Thursday or Saturday in Los Angeles.

The Sharks have won four straight against the Avalanche after winning only one of the previous 11 meetings.

2006-2007 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Mar 18 '07 SJS 3 at COL 4 - OT M. Hejduk
Jan 15 '07 COL 1 at SJS 3 P. Marleau
Dec 07 '06 COL 5 at SJS 2 B. McLean
Nov 15 '06 SJS 4 at COL 3 P. Marleau
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