San Jose Sharks: Previewing the Colorado Avalanche series

SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 23: Tomas Hertl #48 of the San Jose Sharks celebrates after he scored a goal against the Vegas Golden Knights in Game Seven of the Western Conference First Round during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at SAP Center on April 23, 2019 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 23: Tomas Hertl #48 of the San Jose Sharks celebrates after he scored a goal against the Vegas Golden Knights in Game Seven of the Western Conference First Round during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at SAP Center on April 23, 2019 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

The puck is set to drop on Round 2 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs as the San Jose Sharks host the Colorado Avalanche at SAP Center. Here is everything you need to know about both teams before then.

The 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs have been an emotional roller coaster through the first round of games. Now it is time to move on and get ready for Round 2 of this four-round tournament. Up next for the San Jose Sharks are the Colorado Avalanche, one of the many Wild Card teams who are still in contention.

The Avalanche are a surprising team as they barely made it into the playoffs, to begin with. They finished the season with 90 points which barely slid them into the second and final wild-card spot.

In the first round of the playoffs, they showed that they belong as they defeated the Pacific Division-leading Calgary Flames. On the other side of the ice, the Sharks have shown that they are never out of a series as they came back from down 3-1 to beat the Vegas Golden Knights.

This series will be a fun and fast-paced series as both teams are ready to take their playoff lives to the next level. The Avalanche had a tough mountain to climb in the first round as they got to face the top team in the Western Conference and the second best team in the National Hockey League.

A big reason that they are in the second round is their top line of Mikko Rantanen, Gabriel Landeskog, and Nathan MacKinnon. In the opening series, they combined for 21 points (nine goals, 12 assists) in only five games while also putting up 68 shots.

MacKinnon had a total of 99 points during the season putting up 41 goals and 58 assists. He led the Avs in points by a good margin as he was 13 points over the next player who, of course, was Rantanen.

It will be pivotal that the Sharks control this top line for the series as if they are able to do that, they will have a lot of success. If they are not able to at least limit the top line of the Avs, I am afraid that the Sharks will have the same result as the top-seeded Flames.

On the defensive end, goaltender Philipp Grubauer was in net for the whole first round and picked up a record of 4-1 with a save percentage of .939. During the regular season, he only played in 37 games and posted a record of 18-9 with a save percentage of .917.  In the five games that he played during the first round, only once did he give up more than two goals and that was a 4-0 loss in Game 1.

The Avalanche, as a team, are not scared to start on the road as that is where they started the first round. They went 1-1 in the first two games so they will be ready for the fans at SAP Center on Friday when the series kicks off. The Sharks will need to step up their game from the last series as I am sure they will not get so lucky in coming back from a 3-1 series deficit once again.

For the Sharks, the last series should show them that there is no time to take off. The Sharks will have to show up every game and make sure that they give it their full effort.

Not only will it be very unlikely for them to comeback from a multiple game deficit, but after the long and physical battle they had against the Knights, they will have to use their energy wisely as this series could very well go six or seven games. During the regular season, the Sharks dominated the season series completing the three-game sweep.

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The most recent game these two teams played was the last regular season game for the Sharks where they were able to pick up the 5-2 win. In that game, Evander Kane picked up his 30th goal of the season while Kevin Labanc, Gustav Nyquist, Micheal Haley, and Brent Burns all picked up a goal as well.

The Sharks were the far better team during the regular season but as we have seen during these playoffs, anything can happen when a team gets going. For the Sharks to do well in this series, they will have to do many things right before it is too late.

One of those things is their power play. The power play unit was not great during the first series until they scored four goals on the major penalty in Game 7 that saved their season. The Sharks went 8-34 on the power play in Round 1 for a percentage of only 23 percent.

The Avalanche during the regular season ranked 25th overall killing only 78.7% of the penalties they took. The Sharks, on the other hand, were ranked 15th overall, killing 80.8% of the penalties they took.

Overall during the regular season, the Sharks lead the Avs in every category except for one, that being goals against per game. The Sharks gave up about 3.146 goals against on average while the Avalanche gave up about 2.976.

That leads us to the next thing that must go well for the Sharks, Martin Jones.

Jones didn’t exactly perform all too great during the regular season. Some people said he had one of his worst or not the worst regular season he has ever had. In Game 1 of the first round, Jones showed that he has the potential to be a great postseason goalie. Unfortunately, he did not back that up in Game 2, 3, and 4 as he went on a three-game losing streak that almost ended the Sharks season.

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Luckily for Team Teal, he picked it up when the Sharks needed him the most. Jones was absolutely spectacular during the rest of the series and he is one of the reasons the Sharks were able to make the historic comeback. He will need to play the way he did during the latter end of the series to make sure the Sharks do not have to make a very long comeback attempt again.

He has shown that he is able to do it especially in Game 6 when he made 58 saves in the five-period game. Game 1 will show how he is doing especially after a long series that included multiple overtime games. If Jones can hold down the defensive side of things with Burns, Marc- Edouard Vlasic, and Erik Karlsson, the Sharks will be in a very good position to take this series.

In the previous series, we saw some Sharks players have an offensive outburst while also seeing players who are usually scoring have a hard time finding the back of the net. Tomas Hertl and Logan Couture led the Sharks in scoring with six apiece while the next group of people only had two goals in the seven-game series.

The Sharks will need to see those offensive weapons come up big in the series as the Avalanche will sure be trying to contain Hertl and Couture. Players like Kane, Timo Meier, and Gustav Nyquist will have to be better on the offensive end.

Next. Recapping the historic first round and game 7 for the San Jose Sharks. dark

This series is sure to be a good one as both teams have shown that they can battle with any team that comes their way. There are many things that both teams need to do to ensure that they come out on top in the series.

Let’s just hope that the Sharks are the team that capitalizes.