Preview: San Jose at Colorado
When: 10:00 PM ET, Wednesday, February 24, 2016
Where: Pepsi Center, Denver, Colorado
The San Jose Sharks hope to wrap up their final lengthy road trip of the season on a high note when they visit the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday. San Jose, which isn’t away from home for more than two games for the remainder of the campaign, is 3-1-0 on its five-game trek after posting a 6-3 victory at St. Louis on Monday.
Joe Thornton is coming off a two-goal, two-assist performance that drew him even with captain Joe Pavelski (55 points) for the scoring lead on the Sharks, who trail Anaheim by one point for second place in the Pacific Division. Colorado is clinging to the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference after dropping a 5-1 decision at Vancouver on Sunday. Matt Duchene netted his team-leading 26th tally against the Canucks for his fourth point in three games and a club-high 48 on the season. San Jose won two of the first three contests in the four-game season series, including a 4-3 triumph at Colorado on Nov. 1.
TV: 10 p.m. ET, NBCSN, Sportsnet
ABOUT THE SHARKS (32-21-5): Nick Spaling and defenseman Roman Polak are expected to make their debuts Wednesday after being acquired from Toronto two days earlier. Spaling recorded one goal and six assists in 35 games with the Maple Leafs while Polak netted one tally and set up 12 others in 55 contests. Thornton has not gone more than one game without a point since a two-game drought from Dec. 9-12 and has been kept off the scoresheet only three times in his last 29 contests, posting point streaks of seven, eight and 10 games in that span.
ABOUT THE AVALANCHE (31-27-4): Colorado also figures to have its newest addition in the lineup in Shawn Matthias, who was obtained from Toronto on Sunday. The 28-year-old, who registered six goals and 11 assists in 51 games with the Maple Leafs, is expected to debut on a line with Carl Soderberg and Blake Comeau. Calvin Pickard is slated to start while Semyon Varlamov hopes to dress as his backup as he battles a flu bug that also has stricken Nathan MacKinnon, who is planning on being in the lineup.
1. San Jose is tied with Washington for the most road wins with 21 while G Martin Jones leads the league with 19 victories away from home.
2. Colorado rookie LW Andreas Martinsen, who has notched two goals and six assists in 44 games, was assigned to San Antonio of the American Hockey League.
3. Sharks D Matt Tennyson is doubtful after suffering what likely is a concussion when he was hit from behind by St. Louis’ Ryan Reaves in Monday’s game.
PREDICTION: Sharks 4, Avalanche 3