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Reeling Avs set to host Sharks

by Brian Compton
SHARKS (48-20-10) at AVALANCHE (41-29-7)

Last 10 -- San Jose 5-5-0; Colorado 3-6-1.

Season series -- This is the fourth and final meeting between the teams. San Jose has won two of the three matchups, including a 4-3 victory at HP Pavilion on March 28.

Big story -- Colorado is facing must-win situations for the remainder of the season if it plans on reaching the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Avs had a golden opportunity to take a four-point lead on the Calgary Flames on Friday, but they fell short in a 2-1 loss at the Pepsi Center. Both teams now have 89 points, although the Avalanche have a game in hand.

Team Scope:

Sharks -- San Jose bounced back from a 5-1 trouncing in Dallas last Wednesday with a 3-2 victory in Minnesota two nights later. Evgeni Nabokov made 25 saves to improve to 12-0-1 in his last 13 starts against the Wild.

"It's always good after you lose a game to come out stronger," said Nabokov, who was pulled from the Sharks' loss to the Stars. "It's not easy, especially teams like that. They have nothing to lose and they play loose. That's dangerous."

Avalanche -- Colorado's skid reached four with Friday's loss to the Flames. The Avalanche, who haven't scored more than three goals in any of these defeats, are 1-6-1 in their last eight games.

"Keep positive," Avs captain Adam Foote said. "We lost a 2-1 game, a bounce here, a bounce there. It's such a fine line. You can't let what’s happening now drain a young team."

Who's hot -- Sharks captain Rob Blake has four points -- all assists -- in his last three games.

Injury report -- Sharks center Joe Thornton has missed three straight games with a lower-body injury. The team is optimistic he'll return shortly. … Avs forward Matt Hendricks (head) is day-to-day. David Jones (knee) is on injured reserve.

Stat pack -- Colorado forward Matt Duchene leads all rookies in scoring with 53 points in 77 games, but he's gone 11 games without a goal.

Puck drop -- "The ball's in our court. We've got to win our games, that's the bottom line." -- Colorado goalie Craig Anderson

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