Two former San Jose Sharks returned to their previous home on Wednesday night, looking to help the Colorado Avalanche pull out a win against the club directly ahead of it in the Western Conference standings.
Defenseman Brad Stuart and forward Freddie Hamilton both spent time with the Sharks organization, and each made his Avalanche debut at SAP Center in Colorado’s 5-1 loss.
Selected third overall by San Jose at the 1998 NHL Entry Draft, Stuart spent parts of eight seasons wearing a teal sweater before being traded to the Avalanche over the summer. His two stints with his original club—separated by stops in Boston, Calgary, Los Angeles and Detroit— saw him amass 39 goals, 131 assists and a plus-35 rating in 486 games.
He has three goals and nine assists in 60 games with Colorado.
Hamilton was also picked by the Sharks, in the fifth round (129th overall) of the 2010 NHL Draft, and spent three seasons in the organization. He played 12 games for San Jose, spending the majority of his time with the Worcester Sharks of the American Hockey League before being acquired by the Avalanche minutes before the NHL trade deadline expired.
He has one goal and a plus-1 rating through 11 games with the Avs.
Stuart played 22:52 in his return, while Hamilton skated for 9:34.
|Reto Berra |
Prior to his start in Vancouver last Thursday, it had been 51 games since Reto Berra got the nod between the pipes for the Avalanche (Nov. 26 at the Arizona Coyotes). Aside from a six-game conditioning stint with the Lake Erie Monsters, Berra skated in just six contests with the Avs in that span, and he was goalie of record in just one, a 4-3 loss to the Edmonton Oilers last Wednesday.
The lone decision was hardly on Berra, who allowed just one marker on 27 shots through 49:08 of play. In fact, the strength of his game earned him the start the following night in Vancouver, and his effort in the 4-1 victory over the Canucks was again rewarded with a game of his own on Wednesday night in San Jose.
Berra was in fine form at SAP Center, turning aside 25-of-28 shots in the 5-1 defeat. The 28-year-old Swiss netminder was forced to make many an expert stop on the Sharks, including more than a few highlight-worthy maneuvers that were reminiscent of his early-season play.
Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy had originally said that Berra would play both Wednesday against San Jose and on Friday against the Anaheim Ducks in the first of Colorado’s final back-to-back sequence of the season.
DUCHENE HITS 20
With his power-play goal during the third period on Wednesday, Avalanche center Matt Duchene became the fourth Colorado forward to reach the 20-goal mark this season. He joins teammates Jarome Iginla (26), Alex Tanguay (22) and Gabriel Landeskog (22) at the top of the goal chart.
Duchene sits fourth on the club in goals and assists (31) and fifth in points (51).
This is the fourth time that Duchene has reached 20 goals in his six-season NHL career. Selected third overall at the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, he has 314 points (125 goals, 189 assists) in 414 games in the league, all with the Avalanche.
His career high is 27 tallies, set in 80 games during the 2010-11 season.