At the Rink: Avalanche at Sharks

Tuesday, 01.26.2016 / 5:17 PM | Eric Gilmore  - Correspondent

SAN JOSE -- The Colorado Avalanche are expected to start goaltender Calvin Pickard, who is battling the flu, when they face the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center on Tuesday (10 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN1, SNE, SNO, SNW).

Pickard, defenseman Erik Johnson and third-line center Mikhail Grigorenko missed Colorado's morning skate at SAP Center because of an illness that has hit the team.

With Pickard missing the skate, coach Patrick Roy played goal during the morning skate.

"[Pickard] is going to be fine," Roy said. "He said he was already feeling better. Just needs some fluid in his body. He should be ready for tonight's game. ... I'm confident everybody's going to be ready to play."

Top goaltender Semyon Varlamov remained in Denver to attend to a legal matter relating to a domestic abuse charge in 2013 that was dropped. Roy said Varlamov also will miss Colorado's game Wednesday against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center.

"He's not going to come on the trip," Roy said. "The plan is to have him do his thing. We'll focus on our two games."

Goaltender Reto Berra is on injured reserve because of an ankle injury. The Avalanche (26-21-3) called up goaltender Roman Will from San Antonio of the American Hockey League. He arrived in San Jose on Monday and was in the net opposite Roy at the morning skate Tuesday.

Will has yet to make his NHL debut. He's 6-5-2 with a 3.38 goals-against average and .895 save percentage in 16 AHL games this season.

"If I play I will take it like every other game and be in the moment and enjoy the process," Will said.

Roy said he expects Pickard to start against the Sharks (25-18-4) and Kings in Colorado's final two games before the All-Star Game break.

Pickard is 1-1-0 in his past two starts. He made 27 saves in a 3-0 shutout of the New Jersey Devils on Jan 14 and 19 saves in a 2-1 loss to Columbus Blue Jackets on Jan. 16.

He made 35 saves in the Avalanche's 6-3 victory against the Sharks at SAP Center on Dec. 28.

The Avalanche have gone 7-3-0 in their past 10 games but will face a Sharks team that has gone 7-1-2 in their past 10 games and has points in nine straight.

Sharks forward Dainius Zubrus, who has missed the past nine games because of an upper-body injury, will return to the lineup and skate on the fourth line, replacing Mike Brown in the Sharks' final game before the break.

"I think it's going to take a little bit of time yet to heal but I've been feeling good and I'll be ready to go tonight," Zubrus said after San Jose's optional morning skate at Sharks Ice. "I really wanted to play a game before the break because I'm hoping that after the break I'll be back in the lineup and playing. So yeah, I didn't want to go through that long of a period without a game. It will be nice to be back out there."

Colorado went 4-for-6 on the power play in its victory at San Jose in December. Top-line center Nathan MacKinnon had his second NHL hat trick that game and scored two of his goals on the power play.

"The whole game was on the power play," MacKinnon said. "We were clicking early. I think we scored two in the first and two in the third on the power play. We were definitely very good."

San Jose's penalty kill ranks 24th in the NHL, 27th at home.

"I think when we limit the opportunities and our focus is one, two, three kills a game, I think we've been good," Sharks forward Tommy Wingels said. "But it's when we get into giving teams more opportunities than they need. … There are so many good players in this League, when you give them more time with a man-advantage they're going to score. That's just the reality of it."

Here are the projected lineups:


Alex Tanguay - Nathan MacKinnon - Matt Duchene

Gabriel Landeskog - Carl Soderberg - Blake Comeau

Andreas Martinsen - Mikhail Grigorenko - Jarome Iginla

Cody McLeod - John Mitchell - Jack Skille

Francois Beauchemin - Erik Johnson

Nick Holden - Tyson Barrie

Zach Redmond - Chris Bigras

Calvin Pickard

Roman Will

Injured: Ben Street (chest), Brad Stuart (back), Jesse Winchester (chest), Reto Berra (ankle)

Scratched: Andrew Bodnarchuk, Nate Guenin, Chris Wagner, Semyon Varlamov


Tomas Hertl - Joe Thornton - Joe Pavelski

Matt Nieto - Patrick Marleau - Joel Ward

Joonas Donskoi - Logan Couture - Tommy Wingels

Melker Karlsson - Chris Tierney - Dainius Zubrus

Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Justin Braun

Paul Martin - Brent Burns

Brenden Dillon - Dylan DeMelo

Martin Jones

Alex Stalock

Injured: None

Scratched: Matt Tennyson, Mike Brown

Status report: Skille, who left the game Saturday against the Dallas Stars after crashing into the boards in the first period, skated Tuesday and said he can play Tuesday. Skille did not return against the Stars and did not practice Monday. ... If Johnson can't play, Guenin likely would replace him in the lineup. ... If Grigorenko can't play, Wagner would take his place in the lineup.

Who's hot: Thornton has two goals and 10 assists during his nine-game point streak. ... Pavelski has two goals and three assists in his past three games. ... Soderberg has two goals and two assists in his past four games. ... Landeskog had his second game- winning goal of the season against Dallas.

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