The next opponent for the Colorado Avalanche in its 2019 Stanley Cup Playoff run is the San Jose Sharks.
The Sharks sealed their spot in the playoffs by recording a 46-27-9 record during the regular season, the second-best mark in the Western Conference this year. San Jose faced off against Colorado three times, posting a 3-0-0 record in those matchups.
In the first round, San Jose drew the Vegas Golden Knights, and the series against their Pacific-Division rival went seven games. The Sharks captured the series with a double-overtime victory in Game 6 and a single-OT win in Game 7, the latter of which saw San Jose rally with four power-play goals in a 4:01 span.
"They played Game 7 and double overtime (in Game 6), so I think maybe they're a little bit tired," said Colorado defenseman Nikita Zadorov following Thursday's practice. "Obviously they're coming out in a good mood. They came back, it was a crazy game, it was an emotional game for them, but it's a new round, it doesn't matter anymore. It starts from Game 1, we had a great rest, we got a few practices in. We're all rested, we're all hungry to play and we're ready to go."
The teams last met in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2010, when the Sharks defeated the Avs 4-2 in the conference quarterfinals. The clubs have met four times overall in the postseason, with each squad winning twice.
Tomas Hertl and Logan Couture led the way for San Jose forwards during the first round. Both skaters tallied six goals--tied for the most in the NHL during the first round--while also adding a pair of helpers to total eight points apiece. Hertl and Couture both registered three goals with the man advantage, sharing the NHL lead for the most power-play goals in Round 1.
Joe Thornton has played in 166 career playoff games, the most among Sharks skaters. Thornton has logged 127 points (28 goals, 99 assists) for the Boston Bruins and San Jose Sharks over his Stanley Cup Playoffs tenure, with one marker and three helpers coming in the first round against Vegas. Since his league debut in the 1997-98 season, the London, Ontario, native is the league leader among active players in regular-season points against the Avs with 15 goals and 46 assists over 55 games.
Joe Pavelski has registered eight points (five goals, three assists) in six career postseason contests against the Avalanche, but his status for the second round remains uncertain after sustaining an injury in the third period of Game 7 against the Golden Knights.
Erik Karlsson shared the league lead with nine helpers during the first round, the most points for Sharks skaters. San Jose's ice-time leader was Brent Burns, the only Shark to average more than 30 minutes per contest through the first round. The 2019 Norris Trophy finalist's 30:28 of average time on ice ranked first in the league during Round 1, while Karlsson's 27:15 of average time on ice ranked second overall.
Marc-Edouard Vlasic notched a goal and two assists in the first round, ranking third among San Jose blueliners in scoring.
"They have a mix of the puck-moving defensemen," said Zadorov. "Brent Burns and Karlsson are really good offensive-defensemen. They also have a few good defensive stay-at-home guys, so it's going to be tough."
Martin Jones has logged 49 career appearances between the pipes in the postseason, charting a 26-20 record with a 2.22 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage. In his career, the North Vancouver, British Columbia, native has posted a 10-3-1 record against Colorado, including a 2.85 goals-against average and an .896 save percentage. Jones has not faced the Avalanche in the playoffs.
He started all seven games for San Jose against Vegas, with him playing a key role in each of the Sharks' final three victories. He set a franchise record (playoffs and regular season) with 58 saves in the double overtime win on Sunday and then stopped 34-of-38 shots in Game 7 on Tuesday.