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After big win, Avalanche waiting for Sharks to visit

by John Kreiser /

SHARKS (11-7-5) at AVALANCHE (9-10-4)


Last 10: San Jose 4-4-2; Colorado 4-3-3

Season series: The teams are playing the last of their three games. The San Jose Sharks won the first two at home, 4-0 on Jan. 26 and 3-2 in a shootout exactly a month later.

Big story: Now that Colorado has ended the Chicago Blackhawks' run of 24 games without a regulation loss, the Avalanche have to focus on getting back into the Stanley Cup Playoff race in the Western Conference. The good news for Colorado is that it's in a stretch during which it plays six of seven games at home, where it is 7-2-1 (opposed to 2-8-3 on the road).

San Jose will try to bounce back after a 3-1 third-period lead at home against the St. Louis Blues on Saturday afternoon turned into a 4-3 overtime loss.

Team Scope:

Sharks: San Jose looked like it was headed to victory against St. Louis after second-period goals by Scott Gomez and Matt Irwin gave the Sharks a 3-1 lead entering the final 20 minutes. But Vladimir Sobotka scored his second and third goals of the game in the third period to force overtime before Patrik Berglund's deflection at 1:12 sent the Sharks to Denver with one point instead of two.

"That was a tough one to take," said forward Logan Couture, who scored in the first period. "With a 3-1 lead going into the third, obviously you don't want to give it up. It's tough right now to get over but we have a game tomorrow that we have to focus on. You think about the mistakes you made, move on, and get better from it."

Avalanche: Colorado nearly defeated the Blackhawks in Chicago on Wednesday; the Avalanche did the job two nights later before a full house at Pepsi Center, scoring five consecutive goals after the Blackhawks took an early lead and rolling to a 6-2 victory

Matt Duchene led the attack with a goal and three assists, his first four-point night in more than two years.

"Some nights they go in, some nights they don't," Duchene said. "I feel like last game, with any luck, it could've been the same result for our line and for a lot of guys individually, but we didn't get the bounces. Thankfully, tonight we did."

Who's hot: Couture's goal Saturday was his fourth point in the Sharks' past five games. … Avalanche forward PA Parenteau had a goal and two assists against the Blackhawks, giving him eight points during a five-game points streak.

Injury report: The Sharks put forward Martin Havlat (lower body) on injured reserve Saturday and reactivated Tommy Wingels. Goaltender Thomas Greiss (neck) missed the game Saturday. Defenseman Brent Burns is on IR. … Avalanche forward Milan Hejduk (upper body) has missed the past two games; he and defenseman Ryan Wilson (ankle) are listed as day-to-day. Forward Steve Downie (knee surgery) is out for the season.

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