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5 Keys: Avalanche at Sharks, Game 2

Colorado trying to even series; Burns controlling play for San Jose

by David Satriano @davidsatriano / Staff Writer


7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS

San Jose leads best-of-7 series 1-0

The San Jose Sharks and Colorado Avalanche will play Game 2 of the Western Conference Second Round at SAP Center on Sunday.

The Sharks, who won Game 1 5-2, are 9-2 when they win the first two games of a Stanley Cup Playoff series.


[RELATED: Complete Sharks vs. Avalanche series coverage]


The Avalanche, who lost Game 1 to the Calgary Flames in the first round then won the next four, are 1-4 in playoff series when losing the first two games since relocating to Colorado for the 1995-96 NHL season.

Teams that take a 2-0 lead in a best-of-7 series are 321-51 (.863), including 3-1 this season.

Here are 5 keys for Game 2:


1. Avalanche woes at SAP Center

Colorado has two wins at SAP Center since the 2008-09 season, including playoff games (2-16-5). They have to win at least one game there to win the series.

"I think it's a tough building to play in," Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog said. "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 but we have to find a way [Sunday]."


2. Containing Burns

Sharks defenseman Brent Burns was all over the ice in Game 1. He had four points (one goal, three assists), was plus-4 and had six blocked shots in 27:20 to set the San Jose record for points in a playoff game by a defenseman, and for career playoff points by a defenseman (51), passing Dan Boyle (48).

"He's a Norris Trophy candidate; he's been great all year," Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said of Burns. "The last three games of the [seven-game Vegas Golden Knights first-round] series and [against Nathan] MacKinnon [on Friday] night, [Burns] has been all-world defensively. He's been invaluable for us in doing what he does and doing what we in our room know he is capable of doing and playing at a really high level."

Video: COL@SJS, Gm1: Burns tallies goal off defender


3. Thornton line

The Sharks forward line of Marcus Sorensen, Joe Thornton and Kevin Labanc had five points (two goals, three assists), seven shots on goal and was plus-8 in Game 1.

In the playoffs, Sorensen has four assists, Thornton has six points (two goals, four assists), and Labanc has six points (three goals, three assists).

"I think [the line was formed] maybe a couple of weeks before the All-Star break (in January) and we did pretty well together," Labanc said. "We just have such great chemistry, I think. We're moving the puck well, we know where we are going to be, and that's why our line is having so much success."

Video: COL@SJS, Gm1: Thornton beats Grubauer on odd-man rush


4. Avalanche power play

Colorado was 1-for-3 on the power play in Game 1, with three shots on goal in 5:10. In the playoffs, the Avalanche are scoring at 21.4 percent (6-for-28), including at least one goal in four of their six games.

"I liked a lot of the things we did [Friday], I liked a lot of our players, I just didn't love a lot of our guys," Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. "I think we all have another step that 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."

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


5. Who's more desperate?

The Sharks expect the Avalanche to come out with even more intensity and know they will need to match that after a lethargic Game 1.

"I think you're going to see a different game," DeBoer said. "I think, obviously, they don't want to go down 2-0, we don't want to lose home-ice advantage, so I think every game in the series, everything starts to get ramped up a little bit more."


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

Ian Cole -- Erik Johnson

Nikita Zadorov -- Tyson Barrie

Cale Makar -- Samuel Girard

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: Pavelski and Donskoi are each expected to miss a second straight game. ... The Avalanche changed their defense pairs at practice, and Bednar said they could use 11 forwards and seven defensemen, meaning Nemeth, who was scratched from Game 1, could play.

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