After an awful six-game road trip, the San Jose Sharks (8-6-3) are back at home to face the Colorado Avalanche (7-8-2) for the second time this season. In their first matchup, the Sharks took the 4-0 victory at the Shark Tank.
Colorado’s captain Gabriel Landeskog is now back to the Avalanche lineup after missing almost a month after he took a bone-crushing hit from San Jose defenseman Brad Stuat that kept him sidelined. He has registered one assists in the two games since his comeback, and will no doubt be looking to score his first goal since the injury against the Sharks. Stuart also better keep his head on a swivel (as Drew Remenda would say) because there is a good chance people will be taking runs at him and picking fights with him this evening.
Leading the way for the Avalanche is forward Matt Duchene who has a total of 17 points this season including six goals and a team-leading 11 assists. Second on the team in points is winger P.A. Parenteau who has 15 points and leads the team with eight goals to go along with his seven assists. Former San Jose Shark Jamie McGinn is third on the team with 11 points this season, but still has a -4 rating.
While the Sharks were able to get a goal out of Patrick Marleau, the rest of the team continues to struggle at an alarming rate. As of this evening there are still a number of forwards who have yet to register any goals, including Ryane Clowe, T.J. Galiardi, Scott Gomez, etc. I specificallly picked these guys because they should be contributing much more than they have been. The crazy part is that recent Worcester call-up Tim Kennedy, who has played five games with the team this season, has more goals than all of them with two.
Also, for those who have not heard, forward Ryane Clowe has been suspended for two games following his altercation against the Chicago Blackhawks at the end of the game. Read more about it here from Eric, plus see what happened. This just adds to his rough season in which he has only six assists in 16 games this season while working mainly on the second line.
What To Watch
Special teams, and in particular the San Jose power play versus the Colorado penalty kill. The Sharks face the 25th ranked penalty kill unit that only stops 76.7% of all opponents opportunites. In contrast, San Jose’s power play unit is now down to 15th in the league and has been struggling mightily. They will get a chance to remedy their problems with the man-advantage tonight against a Colorado team that has struggled killing penalties. If San Jose can get a goal or two on the power play it might to wonders for their confidence in other aspects of the game, including at even-strength.