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Avalanche at Sharks preview

Colorado hopeful of gaining first wild card in West; Karlsson back in San Jose lineup @NHLdotcom

AVALANCHE (38-29-14) at SHARKS (45-27-9)

10:30 p.m. ET; NBCSCA+, ALT, NHL.TV


The Game

The Colorado Avalanche hope for a chance to gain the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference when they visit the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center on Saturday.

The Avalanche, 8-0-2 in their past 10 games, will secure the first wild card with a win in any fashion and a Dallas Stars loss to the Minnesota Wild in regulation earlier Saturday. Goalie Semyon Varlamov will start.

Defenseman Erik Karlsson will return to the Sharks lineup after missing 17 games with a groin injury; he has 45 points (three goals, 42 assists) in 52 games for San Jose this season.

The Sharks, 2-8-1 in their past 11 games, will finish in second place in the Pacific Division and will have home-ice advantage against the Vegas Golden Knights in the Western Conference First Round.

Forward Timo Meier will not play after sustaining a wrist injury in a 3-2 win at the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday but is expected to return when the playoffs begin. 


Players to watch

Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon has seven points (three goals, four assists) in a six-game point streak.

Sharks forward Tomas Hertl has eight points (three goals, five assists) in a six-game point streak.


They said it

"We're going to treat this game like we've been treating the last 10. We're going to try and play our style and keep this thing rolling." -- Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie

"We want to win, we want to get to 100 points. We want to feel good about ourselves going into the playoffs." -- Sharks coach Peter DeBoer 


Avalanche projected lineup

Gabriel Landeskog -- Nathan MacKinnon -- Alexander Kerfoot

Colin Wilson -- Carl Soderberg - J.T. Compher

Matt Nieto -- Derick Brassard -- Matt Calvert

Sven Andrighetto - Tyson Jost -- Gabriel Bourque

Samuel Girard -- Erik Johnson

Nikita Zadorov -- Tyson Barrie

Ian Cole -- Patrik Nemeth

Semyon Varlamov

Philipp Grubauer

Scratched: Mark Barberio, Ryan Graves

Injured: Vladislav Kamenev (shoulder), Mikko Rantanen (upper body)


Sharks projected lineup

Joonas Donskoi -- Logan Couture -- Joe Pavelski

Evander Kane -- Tomas Hertl -- Gustav Nyquist

Marcus Sorensen -- Joe Thornton -- Kevin Labanc

Micheal Haley -- Barclay Goodrow -- Melker Karlsson

Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Brent Burns

Brenden Dillon - Erik Karlsson

Joakim Ryan - Justin Braun

Martin Jones

Aaron Dell

Scratched: Tim Heed, Lukas Radil

Injured: Timo Meier (wrist), Radim Simek (knee)


Status report

Rantanen took part in the morning skate wearing a non-contact jersey and will miss his eighth straight game. … Donskoi will replace Meier at left wing on a line with Couture and Pavelski. … The Sharks reassigned defenseman Jacob Middleton to San Jose of the American Hockey League.


Stat pack

Kerfoot has eight points (four goals, four assists) in his past seven games. … Landeskog has five points (one goal, four assists) in his past four games. … Couture has six points (one goal, five assists) in his past five games. … Nyquist will play in his 500th NHL game.

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