Preview: Avalanche at Sharks
The Colorado Avalanche have been swimming upstream throughout their best-of-7 series against the San Jose Sharks, but they are one win away from advancing to the Western Conference finals for the first time since 2002. After staving off elimination with a 4-3 overtime victory on Monday, Colorado visits the Sharks in a winner-take-all Game 7 on Wednesday night.
The Avalanche squandered three separate one-goal leads Monday night but forced the series back to San Jose when captain Gabriel Landeskog scored 2 1/2 minutes into overtime to continue the pattern of the teams alternating wins and losses in the series. "Sixty minutes away from a Western Conference final. Who would have thought before the season?" Landeskog said. "The last thing they wanted to do was play another one in San Jose. We accomplished step No. 1 and now we have to regroup and win another one." The Sharks have won 18 of the last 20 at home (playoffs included) versus Colorado and erased a three-goal, third-period deficit in Game 7 of the opening round versus Vegas so their confidence level remains high. “This is a resilient group, they’ve shown that all year,” coach Peter DeBoer said. “I think we’re excited for the opportunity and it’s going to be fun to be at home in front of our fans.”
TV: 9 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network, CBC, Sportsnet, TVAS
ABOUT THE AVALANCHE: With its explosive No. 1 unit flustered for much of the game, Colorado finally received some production from its bottom-six forwards as J.T. Compher, held off the scoresheet in the previous five games, netted a pair of goals and set up Tyson Jost's opening tally. "He had a great game, really great game from him. I thought that was his best of the playoffs," coach Jared Bednar said. "Physical right away, skating, he was on the hunt, puck pursuit and puck pressure all over the ice." Nathan MacKinnon has been shut out in the past two contests after amassing 13 points in the previous eight games.
ABOUT THE SHARKS: Captain Joe Pavelski, sidelined since suffering a head injury in Game 7 of the first round, said he was close to returning after skating with the team Monday and was termed a game-time decision by DeBoer on Tuesday. "He's getting better every day," DeBoer said of Pavelski, who had a team-high 38 goals during the season. "We're going to make a decision on game day whether he's going to be available or not. ... There's nothing hidden. There's no secret information here." The line of Joe Thornton, Marcus Sorenson and Kevin Labanc has combined for one assist since amassing five points in Game 1.
1. Sharks Ds Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson are second on the team with 12 points apiece in the playoffs.
2. Colorado is 3-0 in overtime in the postseason after dropping 14 of 19 beyond regulation during the regular season.
3. Sharks C Logan Couture has 43 goals and 95 points in 109 playoff games, including a league-high nine tallies this year.
PREDICTION: Sharks 4, Avalanche 2