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Avalanche feel good ahead of tough road test against Sharks in Game 2

Looking to even series in San Jose, where they've won twice in past decade

by Tim Campbell @TimNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

SAN JOSE -- The Colorado Avalanche will need to overcome some uncomfortable history when they try to even the Western Conference Second Round against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center on Sunday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS).

The Sharks lead the best-of-7 series following a 5-2 win in Game 1 on Friday.

Including that loss, Colorado is 2-15-6 in its past 23 games at San Jose dating to the 2008-09 season.

 

[RELATED: Complete Sharks vs. Avalanche series coverage]

 

"I think it's a tough building to play in," Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog said Saturday. "It's a good team. It gets loud too. I don't know, we don't think about it too much that it's too hard for us to play here, but we haven't been successful lately. We have to find a way tomorrow.

"We know how important the second one is. Hopefully we can steal a game from here and then go home with our home crowd."

Colin Wilson, who scored a power-play goal for Colorado in the second period of Game 1 and has four points (three goals, one assist) in his past two games, said he doesn't believe that history will affect the Avalanche moving forward.

"I personally think it's irrelevant," Wilson said. "I think 10 years ago, I don't even know if there's a guy on the team that was here 10 years ago. You want to look at the last couple of years, and I know it's not great, but we're confident with our team that we can go in and win tomorrow."

Video: Burns nets four points to lead Sharks to Game 1 win

After practice Saturday, Colorado continued to talk about the things it did well in Game 1. That included a strong start and a 2-1 lead before getting a four-minute power play midway through the second period.

However, the Sharks killed the double-minor penalty to Brenden Dillon for high-sticking and scored the next four goals to rally for the win.

"I thought, like, every chance they got they scored on, unfortunately. But I thought we played a pretty good game overall," Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon said. "We had plenty of chances in the first, but unfortunately, we couldn't bury and [Sharks goalie Martin Jones] played really well.

"We feel good. We lost Game 1 of the last series (against the Calgary Flames) and hopefully this will be a long series."

After losing Game 1 of the first round at Calgary 4-0, Colorado bounced back for a 3-2 overtime win in Game 2 before clinching that series in five games. 

"I think compared to our first game against Calgary, we had a lot more positives in this first game," Wilson said. "I think we played a great 30 minutes and took a bit of a 10-minute lapse there (in the second period) in our game. Credit to them, they played a great game, but we feel like we have more to give and want to do the same as we did in Calgary."

Video: COL@SJS, Gm1: Wilson redirects puck for PPG

The Avalanche know how important it is to even the series before they head back to Colorado for Game 3.

"The whole key ... well, you'd love to win two, but you have to get a split on the road," Avalanche defenseman Ian Cole said. "That's really our mindset now, come and get a split and win Game 2."

Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said one of the specific elements he'll be looking for Sunday is more extended time in the offensive zone. That will come from applying more pressure on the puck, providing better support on the forecheck, and then making better passes when they do get control.

"We didn't get our O-zone mojo going like we did against Calgary," Bednar said. "I think San Jose did a nice job of trying to shrink the ice on us and give us less room to skate. But there are options there for us to move the puck and spread them out that we didn't use quick enough.

"I liked a lot of the things we did yesterday. I liked a lot of our players. I just didn't love a lot of our guys. I think we all have another step we can take in order to get back to where we were last series and where we're going to need to be in this series in order to win."

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