The Colorado Avalanche (38-29-14) takes the ice for the final time in the 2018-19 regular season on Saturday night. The Avs travel to San Jose to take on the Sharks (45-27-9) in the third and final meeting of the regular season between the Western Conference foes.
Since the 1995-96 campaign, the Avalanche is 41-35-12 against the Sharks. Nathan MacKinnon has registered 16 career points (nine goals, seven assists) in 15 outings versus San Jose, the most of any active Avalanche skater.
Last Time Out
The Avalanche clinched a berth into the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs on Thursday night at Pepsi Center with a 3-2 overtime win against the Winnipeg Jets. Mark Scheifele and Nikolai Ehlers each found the twine in the first period to put the Jets up 2-0, but Tyson Barrie answered for the Avalanche as he netted a goal in the second frame with assists from Nikita Zadorov and Colin Wilson. Tyson Jost and Samuel Girard contributed helpers on Carl Soderberg's game-tying goal at 10:35 of final stanza to send the contest to overtime. With the point gained, the Avs sealed their spot in the Western Conference race but then added an additional point when Erik Johnson struck in overtime to win the game, as he received a pass from Nathan MacKinnon during a 2-on-1 rush. Colorado netminder Philipp Grubauer stopped 34 shots in the victory, extending his career-best win total to 18 this year.
The Sharks defeated the Edmonton Oilers by a 3-2 score on Thursday at Rogers Place. Seven different San Jose skaters reached the scoresheet, led by Brent Burns with a goal and an assist. Marcus Sorensen and Gustav Nyquist also tallied markers in the win, while Joe Thornton, Jacob Middleton, Tomas Hertl and Evander Kane each notched a helper. San Jose goaltender Aaron Dell was victorious in net, making 26 saves for the Sharks.
Last Time They Met
San Jose captured a 4-3 win in a back-and-forth contest on March 1 at SAP Center. Gabriel Landeskog contributed assists on all three Colorado goals, as Nikita Zadorov, Mikko Rantanen and Samuel Girard each registered a marker. Ian Cole, Alexander Kerfoot and Nathan MacKinnon added assists as Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov made 36 stops in net. Marcus Sorensen led the way for the Sharks by scoring two goals, and Joe Pavelski (one goal, one assist) and Kevin Labanc (two assists) each recorded multi-point performances as well. Timo Meier netted a tally, while Brent Burns, Joe Thornton, Tomas Hertl and Logan Couture each recorded a helper in the win. San Jose goalie Martin Jones made 22 saves.
What To Watch
Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot
The Avalanche has earned 18 of a possible 20 points in its last 10 outings, the most of any team in the league dating back to March 17 and helped it secure a berth for 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The team's 17 goals against and 92.0-percent success rate on the penalty kill both rank second in the league during that stretch.
With three goals versus the Jets in Thursday's win, the Avs now have 256 markers this season, surpassing last year's total of 255. It is the most the club has scored in a single season since the 2006-07 campaign when the squad lit the lamp 267 times. Sitting at 22.2 percent, the team's current power-play percentage is presently the highest it's been for a season since the franchise moved to Denver in 1995.
Players To Watch
Colorado: Center Carl Soderberg
The Swedish forward tallied the game-tying goal on Thursday against the Jets to send the contest into overtime, helping the Avs earn a point and clinch a berth in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The marker extended Soderberg's career high to 23 goals this season. He now has 49 points (23 goals, 26 assists) this year, just two points shy of his career high of 51 when he posted 12 goals and 39 helpers during the 2015-16 campaign, his first year as a member of the Colorado Avalanche.
San Jose: Center Joe Thornton
Thornton has tallied 60 career points (15 goals, 45 assists) in 54 contests against the Avs, the most of any active NHL skater versus Colorado. With 50 points (16 goals, 34 assists) this season, the London, Ontario, native has now eclipsed the 50-point plateau in 17 of his 21 NHL seasons.
Saturday's clash between the Avalanche and Sharks is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. MT. The game can be watched locally on Altitude or streamed on select devices with the AltitudeNOW app (in market) or NHL.tv (out of market). The radio broadcast can be heard on Altitude Sports Radio FM 92.5 in the Denver area or online at ColoradoAvalanche.com.
The complete first-round schedule for the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs will be revealed on Sunday morning at 8 a.m. MT at ColoradoAvalanche.com, NHL Network and NHL.com.