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Preview: Avalanche at Sharks

Goalie Spencer Martin making NHL debut for Colorado; San Jose eyes fourth straight win

by Eric Gilmore / NHL.com Correspondent

AVALANCHE (13-29-1) at SHARKS (28-16-2)

10:30 p.m. ET; ALT2, CSN-CA, NHL.TV

 

Avalanche team scope

Goaltender Spencer Martin will make his NHL debut in the first game of a home-and-home with the San Jose Sharks. Martin, the No. 63 pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, was recalled Wednesday from San Antonio of the American Hockey League for the fourth time this season and backed up Calvin Pickard on Thursday in Colorado's 2-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center. "I'd like to say it's just another hockey game, but obviously there's a lot more to it and a lot more pressure," Martin told the Avalanche's website Saturday. "I enjoy that. Throughout my career. I've always had my best moments in those kinds of games. So I'm excited." Martin, who was named an AHL All-Star, is 15-9-2 with a 2.62 goals-against average and .915 save percentage for San Antonio. No. 1 goaltender Semyon Varlamov will miss his second straight game and is out indefinitely with a groin injury. Forward Matt Nieto, who was claimed off waivers from San Jose on Jan. 5, will face his former team for the first time. He said he'll have extra incentive. "I think it's always that way," Nieto said. "I think all hockey players are competitive guys. I think I'll be going as hard as I can, sort of like every game but maybe with just a little more edge, for sure." The Avalanche did not have a morning skate and it's not known whether top-line right wing Rene Bourque (lower body) or defenseman Tyson Barrie (lower body) will be in the lineup. Barrie has missed one game. Bourque skated 3:31 in the first period against Anaheim and missed the final two periods. Colorado is 2-14-0 in its past 16 games.

 

Sharks team scope

After winning three straight games, the Sharks will try to avoid a letdown when they face the struggling Avalanche. "We've been playing some very solid hockey the last few games against some tough opponents and we have to bring that mindset in here again tonight," coach Peter DeBoer said. Sharks second-line center Logan Couture expects to see plenty of Nieto, who has been skating with Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog. "We all check the box score and see how he's doing and see that he's playing a ton," Couture said. "Still talk to him quite a bit. He's in a good spot right now where he's getting an opportunity to play. It's not fun losing for him, but we're all happy that he's successful right now." Rookie forward Timo Meier will miss his second straight game because of an upper-body injury, but he was on the ice after San Jose's morning skate and is getting better. Forward Mikkel Boedker, who was benched in the third period of San Jose's 2-1 victory against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday, will remain on the second line. "You just go out, do your job and make sure you compete," Boedker said. Goaltender Martin Jones will make his 40th start.

 

Avalanche projected lineup

Mikko Rantanen -- Nathan MacKinnon -- Rene Bourque

Gabriel Landeskog -- Matt Duchene -- Matt Nieto

Blake Comeau -- Carl Soderberg -- Jarome Iginla

Mikhail Grigorenko -- John Mitchell -- Andreas Martinsen

Fedor Tyutin -- Tyson Barrie

Nikita Zadorov -- Cody Goloubef

Francois Beauchemin -- Eric Gelinas

Spencer Martin

Calvin Pickard

Scratched: Joe Colborne, Patrick Wiercioch

Injured: Erik Johnson (broken fibula), Semyon Varlamov (groin)

 

Sharks projected lineup

Patrick Marleau -- Joe Thornton -- Joe Pavelski

Joonas Donskoi -- Logan Couture -- Mikkel Boedker

Kevin Labanc -- Chris Tierney -- Joel Ward

Melker Karlsson -- Ryan Carpenter -- Tommy Wingels

Paul Martin -- Brent Burns

Marc-Edouard Vlasic -- Justin Braun

Brenden Dillon -- David Schlemko

Martin Jones

Aaron Dell

Scratched: Tim Head, Barclay Goodrow

Injured: Timo Meier (upper body), Micheal Haley (lower body), Tomas Hertl (knee), Dylan DeMelo (broken wrist)

 

Status update

Hertl will miss his 30th straight game, but he's been cleared for contact since Friday and is skating at full speed. "He's getting very close," DeBoer said. "We're starting to talk about him on a daily basis, which is a good sign." Hertl took part in San Jose's morning skate. "Last two days I'm working on battles and I feel pretty good," Hertl said. "Everything is going right. Just [need to be] more comfortable with battling because skating and everything I feel like 100 percent."... If Barrie is scratched, then Wiercioch, Colorado's only extra defenseman, will be in the lineup. ... Colorado has only one extra forward on the road trip, so if Bourque can't play, Martinsen and Colborne will both be in the lineup. Colborne has played five of the past nine games, while Martinson has played three of the past seven.

 

Who's hot

Burns has four goals and eight assists in his past eight games. ... Couture has three goals in his past five games, including the game-winner against Tampa Bay. ... Duchene has a three-game point streak with two goals and two assists. ... MacKinnon has six points (two goals, four assists) over his past five games.

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