The Colorado Avalanche hosts the San Jose Sharks on Saturday in the second game of a back-to-back set between the clubs and the second of four straight matchups.
Colorado shut out San Jose 3-0 on Friday to extend its season-long home point streak to 14 games and improve to 32-12-4 on the season. Mikko Rantanen notched a goal and two assists for his fourth three-point night of the campaign and has points in his last seven games. Cale Makar registered a goal and an assist on the power play, while Gabriel Landeskog (one goal, one assist) put together a multi-point effort as well. Netminder Philipp Grubauer earned his sixth shutout of the year--tied for the most in the NHL--stopping all 21 shots he faced.
The Sharks (20-25-5) were held scoreless for the sixth time this season. Goaltender Martin Jones allowed two goals on 35 shots in his 33rd start of the year.
Saturday's contest concludes the Avs eighth back-to-back set of the campaign as the squad will play two more such sets, with both coming against the Los Angeles Kings.
Avalanche vs. San Jose Sharks
Ball Arena | Denver, Colo.
COLORADO-SAN JOSE CONNECTIONS
Joonas Donskoi skated for San Jose in his first four NHL seasons from 2015-2019… Goaltender Devan Dubnyk began the 2020-21 season with the Sharks… Cale Makar and Sharks defenseman Mario Ferraro were college teammates at the University of Massachusetts Amherst for two seasons from 2017-2019… Sharks forward Matt Nieto played the past four seasons for the Avs from 2017-2020… San Jose defenseman Greg Pateryn spent part of the 2020-21 season with Colorado… Sharks center Dylan Gambrell played at the University of Denver from 2015-2018… Avalanche video coach Brett Heimlich is from San Jose and spent 11 years with the Sharks organization from 2004-2015… San Jose head coach Bob Boughner finished his NHL playing career with the Avalanche from 2004-2006… Sharks NHL development coach Mike Ricci played for Colorado/Quebec from 1992-1998 and won a Stanley Cup with the Avs in 1996.
The Avalanche boasts an all-time 52-39-12 record versus San Jose, while holding a 4-1-0 mark this season winning the first three matchups at Ball Arena. Mikko Rantanen (four goals, four assists) and Gabriel Landeskog (three goals, five assists) are tied for the team lead in scoring against the Sharks, while Nazem Kadri (two goals, five assists) ranks third on the roster. Kadri's seven points are the most he has registered against any opponent this season.
Saturday's meeting is the final matchup between the clubs at Ball Arena this year. The squads will square off two more times this season, with both contests being played at SAP Center. The Avs will visit the Sharks for a two-game set on Monday and Wednesday to round out the series.
Mikko Rantanen, Joonas Donskoi and Philipp Grubauer all returned to the lineup on Friday after being out in the NHL's COVID-19 protocol. Goaltender Devan Dubnyk backed up Grubauer in the first half of the back-to-back and is likely to get the start in between the pipes on Saturday.
Ryan Graves left Friday's contest early in the first period after sustaining an upper-body injury and Samuel Girard departed in the third period with an undisclosed injury. Both defensemen's status for Saturday's game is unknown. Bowen Byram (upper body), Logan O'Connor (lower body), Matt Calvert (upper body) and Jacob MacDonald (lower body) are all week-to-week with injuries, while Bandon Saad is out two to four weeks with a lower-body ailment. Pavel Francouz is out the remainder of the season with a lower-body injury and Erik Johnson (upper body) could return later in the playoffs.
SCOUTING THE SHARKS
The Sharks sit in the sixth spot in the West Division with 45 points (20-25-5) and are seven points behind the fourth place St. Louis Blues (52 points), who hold onto the final playoff spot in the division. Evander Kane (20 goals, 22 assists), Tomas Hertl (15 goals, 19 assists) and Logan Couture (16 goals, 14 assists) have led the way offensively for the club in 2020-21.
San Jose owns a 0-3-0 record at Ball Arena this year and has yet to find the back of the net on the power play. Overall, the club has not tallied man-advantage goal since April 10, going 0-for-28 in that span.
Saturday's game completes the Sharks' ninth back-to-back set of the season. In the second game of such sets, the club currently owns a 2-5-1 record, averaging 1.63 goals per game and allowing 3.25 notches per contest.
(OPPOSING) PLAYER TO WATCH: TIMO MEIER
Timo Meier is in his fifth season with the Sharks and recently registered his 100th career NHL assist on Monday. Along with the milestone, the forward has notched 85 goals for 185 points in 311 contests.
This season, Meier has been a steady contributor on the offensive end, tallying nine goals and 19 assists in 48 games. He ranks tied for third on the club in assists, fourth in points (28) and fifth in tallies. The 24-year-old leads the squad in power-play points with 10, notching two goals and eight assists on the man advantage. When facing the Avs this season, Meier has recorded four assists and leads San Jose in scoring versus the club.
Philipp Grubauer has collected five of his 17 shutouts in his career when facing the Sharks, with two of those clean sheets coming in the last two contests against the club and a total of three this season. Overall, Grubauer sports a 7-2-1 mark versus the Shark and a 4-1-0 record this campaign.
The Avalanche's 26.4 power-play percentage on home ice is the fourth best in the NHL. The squad has tallied a man-advantage marker in five of its last six home games, going 8-for-28 (28.6 percent) in that span.
Colorado earned its 1,000th win in team history on Friday, becoming the sixth club since the start of the 1995-96 campaign to reach the 1,000-win mark. The Avalanche sports a 1000-727-101-142 record all time.
Colorado is currently on a season-long 14-game point streak at home (14-0-1), winning six consecutive matchups at Ball Arena and 13 of the last 14. The 14-game point streak is tied for the third-longest stretch in franchise history, three games shy of the record of 17 straight which was set in 2003… Philipp Grubauer's 26 wins this season are the second most in the NHL, while his six shutouts are tied with the New York Islanders' Semyon Varlamov for the league best. His six clean sheets this season are the most by an Avalanche goaltender since Craig Anderson had seven in 2009-10… Cale Makar's 20 power-play points (three goals, 17 assists) this year are tied for the third most by a defenseman in the NHL, lead all Avalanche blueliners and rank third on the club's roster… Gabriel Landeskog has tallied eight game-winning goals this year, the most on the Avalanche and tied for third in the league… Colorado leads the NHL in goals per game (3.48), while ranking fourth in goals-against/game (2.42)… The Avs are 27-2-3 when scoring three or more goals this season and 30-4-1 when allowing three or fewer… In the second game of back-to-back sets this season, the Avs own a 4-0-3 mark.