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5 Keys: Avalanche at Sharks, Game 1

Colorado looks for fast start after layoff; San Jose deals with loss of Pavelski

by David Satriano @davidsatriano / NHL.com Staff Writer

AVALANCHE at SHARKS

10 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVAS, SN

The San Jose Sharks and Colorado Avalanche will meet in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in nine years when they play Game 1 of the best-of-7 Western Conference Second Round at SAP Center on Friday.

The Sharks and Avalanche have split their four previous playoff series. San Jose has won the past two and eliminated the Avalanche in six games in the 2010 Western Conference Quarterfinals.

The Sharks were 3-0-0 against the Avalanche this season, outscoring them 14-9.

 

[RELATED: Complete Sharks vs. Avalanche series coverage]

 

Teams that take a 1-0 lead in a best-of-7 series have an all-time series record of 472-217 (68.5 percent), including a 5-3 mark in these playoffs.

Here are 5 keys for Game 1:

 

1. Replacing Pavelski

The Sharks will be without center and captain Joe Pavelski after he sustained an undisclosed injury following a cross-check from Vegas Golden Knights forward Cody Eakin at 9:13 of the third period in a 5-4 overtime win in Game 7 of the first round Tuesday.

Rookie forward Dylan Gambrell will take Pavelski's place in the lineup and make his NHL playoff debut. He had no points in eight games with the Sharks this season and 45 points (20 goals, 25 assists) in 51 games with San Jose of the American Hockey League.

"We don't have a replacement," Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said. "It's got to be by committee and depth. That's what you build depth for all year. We like our depth. That's one thing, I like the guys going in, we trust [them]." 

 

2. Long layoff for Avalanche

Though the Avalanche have not played since April 19, when they defeated the Calgary Flames 5-1 in Game 5 to end that best-of-7 series, Colorado doesn't think it will be hurt by the long layoff.

"It starts from Game 1," Avalanche defenseman Nikita Zadorov said. "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 Sharks had two days off after eliminating the Golden Knights by winning the final three games of the series.

"If you're asking me if I'd rather have a week off, I'd take the week off," DeBoer said. "You're fighting for your life for three games in a row. That taxes you emotionally so we've got to get our emotional levels back up when we come out on the ice on Friday night."

 

3. Which Jones shows up?

With San Jose facing elimination in Games 5-7, goalie Martin Jones made 122 saves on 129 shots (.946 save percentage). That included 30 saves in a 5-2 win in Game 5, and a Sharks-record 58 saves in a 2-1 double-overtime win in Game 6 at Vegas. Jones made 38 saves in Game 7.

Video: VGK@SJS, Gm7: Jones' incredible save preserves lead

However, Jones allowed 13 goals on 80 shots in Games 1-4 and was pulled twice. He had an NHL career-worst 2.94 goals-against average and .896 save percentage during the regular season.

 

4. Pressure from Avalanche

Colorado led all teams in the first round with an average of 41.0 shots on goal. The Sharks allowed 35.0, fourth-most among the 16 playoff teams.

"I think it is just focusing on the first shift," Avalanche forward Matt Nieto said. "Come out with a lot of energy, flying around. We're a really fast group in here and just be smart with the puck. [The Sharks] have dangerous guys over there, just like Calgary did, where if you're not managing the puck they'll capitalize. Be smart, play hard."

Video: COL@CGY, Gm2: Nieto beats Smith top shelf for SHG

 

5. Special-teams battle

Special teams play could be key after each team struggled in the first round. 

The Sharks were 4-for-29 on the power play (and allowed two shorthanded goals) before scoring four times during a five-minute major in the third period of Game 7. They allowed eight goals on 24 power-play opportunities in Games 1-5 against the Golden Knights but were 5-for-5 on the penalty kill in Games 6 and 7.

The Avalanche were 5-for-25 on the power play against the Flames, and their penalty kill allowed five goals on 22 opportunities.

 

Avalanche projected lineup

Gabriel Landeskog -- Nathan MacKinnon -- Alexander Kerfoot

Colin Wilson -- Carl Soderberg -- Mikko Rantanen

Matt Calvert -- J.T. Compher -- Matt Nieto

Tyson Jost -- Gabriel Bourque -- Derick Brassard

Samuel Girard -- Erik Johnson

Nikita Zadorov -- Tyson Barrie

Cale Makar -- Ian Cole

Philipp Grubauer

Semyon Varlamov

Scratched: Mark Barberio, Ryan Graves, Sven Andrighetto, Patrik Nemeth

Injured: None

 

Sharks projected lineup

Timo Meier -- Logan Couture -- Gustav Nyquist

Evander Kane -- Tomas Hertl -- Lukas Radil

Marcus Sorensen -- Joe Thornton -- Kevin Labanc

Dylan Gambrell -- Barclay Goodrow -- Melker Karlsson

Marc-Edouard Vlasic -- Brent Burns

Brenden Dillon -- Erik Karlsson

Joakim Ryan -- Justin Braun

Martin Jones

Aaron Dell

Scratched: Tim Heed

Injured: Joe Pavelski (undisclosed), Joonas Donskoi (undisclosed)

 

Status report:

Donskoi will miss his second straight game. ... Girard returns to the lineup after missing the past three games with an upper-body injury and will replace Nemeth. ... Brassard returns after missing three games with an illness and will replace Andrighetto.

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