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game preview

Avalanche at Sharks preview

Colorado can tie for first in Central Division; San Jose seeks first win in three games

by Ross McKeon / Independent Correspondent

AVALANCHE (40-19-8) at SHARKS (29-34-5)

10 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NHL.TV


The Game

The Colorado Avalanche can tie the St. Louis Blues for first place in the Central Division when they play the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center on Sunday.

The Avalanche trail the Blues by two points. They are 0-1-1 in their past two games after a 6-3 loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Friday. 

Joonas Donskoi returns to San Jose, where he started his NHL career. Donskoi scored 45 goals and had 122 points in 283 games with the Sharks from 2015-19. He signed a four-year, $15.6-million contract with Colorado on July 1.

The Sharks are 0-1-1 in their past two games after a three-game winning streak.

Players to watch

Avalanche forward Gabriel Landeskog has a seven-game point streak (four goals, six assists.

Sharks forward Joe Thornton will play his 1,635th NHL game to tie Scott Stevens for ninth all-time.


They said it 

"We're way more consistent in the commitment to play the right way, to defend the right way, to make the right decisions with the puck. … For me, it's a more mature game, more of a 200-foot game than it's been in the past." -- Avalanche coach Jared Bednar on his team's attitude to battle through injuries

"We're injury-plagued right now. It's been a good opportunity for young guys to step in and show what they can do." -- Sharks goalie Aaron Dell


Avalanche projected lineup

Gabriel Landeskog -- Nathan MacKinnon -- Vladislav Namestnikov

Matt Nieto -- J.T. Compher -- Joonas Donskoi

Sheldon Dries -- Tyson Jost -- Valeri Nichushkin

Vladislav Kamenev -- Pierre-Edouard Bellemare -- Logan O'Connor

Ryan Graves -- Samuel Girard

Ian Cole -- Erik Johnson

Kevin Connauton -- Mark Barberio

Pavel Francouz 

Michael Hutchinson

Scratched: Nikita Zadorov

Injured: Cale Makar (upper body), Andre Burakovsky (lower body), Philipp Grubauer (lower body), Mikko Rantanen (upper body), Nazem Kadri (lower body), Colin Wilson (lower body), Mark Calvert (lower body)


Sharks projected lineup   

Evander Kane -- Logan Couture -- Noah Gregor

Timo Meier -- Joe Thornton -- Kevin Labanc

Melker Karlsson -- Joel Kellman -- Stefan Noesen   

Marcus Sorensen -- Dylan Gambrell -- Lean Bergmann

Radim Simek -- Brent Burns

Marc-Edouard Vlasic -- Tim Heed

Nick DeSimone -- Brandon Davidson

Martin Jones

Aaron Dell

Scratched: Antti Suomela, Alexander True, Nikolai Knyzhov

Injured: Mario Ferraro (lower body), Tomas Hertl (knee), Jacob Middleton (ankle), Dalton Prout (concussion), Erik Karlsson (broken thumb)


Status report

There are no lineup changes for the Avalanche from Friday's loss at Vancouver, Bednar said. … The Sharks did not have a morning skate.


Stat pack

MacKinnon has a three-game point streak (one goal, four assists). … Donskoi has two goals in his past 32 games. … Francouz is 6-1-1 with a 2.09 goals-against average and .929 save percentage in his past eight starts.

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