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5 Keys: Sharks at Avalanche, Game 3

San Jose must come out with energy; Colorado needs to contain defenseman Burns

by Nicholas J. Cotsonika @cotsonika / Columnist


10 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS

Best-of-7 series tied 1-1

The San Jose Sharks and Colorado Avalanche will play Game 3 of the Western Conference Second Round at Pepsi Center on Tuesday.

When a best-of-7 series in the Stanley Cup Playoffs has been tied 1-1, the winner of Game 3 has won it 67.4 percent of the time (213-103). The Sharks were one of three teams to lose Game 3 and win the series in that scenario in the first round this season, however.

The Avalanche have won eight straight at home, including two against the Calgary Flames in the first round. They have outscored opponents 31-15 during the streak.


[RELATED: Full Sharks vs. Avalanche series coverage]


Here are 5 keys to Game 3:


1. Play with energy

Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said he was happy to split Games 1 and 2 considering how exhausted the players were after their seven-game series against the Vegas Golden Knights in the first round.

The Sharks expended a lot of energy climbing out of a 3-1 hole in that series, which included double overtime in Game 6 and overtime in Game 7. San Jose leaned especially hard on its top four defensemen.

For the sake of this series and long-term attrition, the Sharks need to find pep in their step and avoid falling in another hole.

"I think now we're ready to get this series really dialed up," DeBoer said.


2. Contain MacKinnon and Co. 

In Game 1, Avalanche forwards Gabriel Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon (one assist) and Mikko Rantanen (one assist) combined for two points. San Jose won 5-2.

In Game 2, Landeskog (one goal, one assist), MacKinnon (one goal, one assist) and Rantanen (one assist) combined for five points. Colorado won 4-3.

"I thought we gave them a little more room [in Game 2] and didn't think we were heavy enough," DeBoer said.


3. Don't chase matchups too much

With the last change in San Jose, the Sharks often matched the defenseman pair of Brent Burns and Marc-Edouard Vlasic against MacKinnon.

With the last change in Denver, the Avalanche can keep MacKinnon away from Burns and Vlasic. But they don't want to overdo it.

"That's a big thing for me," Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. "I think our team kind of finds a rhythm and we start to play and chasing matchups heavily doesn't tend to do our team any good. Some teams I've coached in the past, it's been different. But we'd like to find a rhythm and keep everyone active."


4. Contain Burns

The Avalanche cannot let Burns run wild.

Burns has seven points (three goals, four assists) in two games. He can become the third defenseman with at least three points in three straight playoff games after Denis Potvin, who had 11 points (five goals, six assists) in three games for the New York Islanders in 1981, and Paul Coffey, who had 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in three games for the Edmonton Oilers in 1985.

"You come out with too much speed against them, they're going to probably deke you and go around you, so it's hard," Landeskog said. "But as a forward group, you've got to find ways to get in those shooting lanes, or at least the shooting lanes we give them, push them to the outside and not let them stand in between the dots and take some slap shots."


5. Go north

In the first period of Game 2, Avalanche forwards were playing east-west too much and not getting open for their defensemen.

"We made some adjustments going into the second," Landeskog said. "We started going north a little quicker. Forwards started being an option, really, in the neutral zone and displaying some sticks and things like that to allow us to get into that forecheck that we're so effective at."

The more the Avalanche continue that, the more time they'll spend in the offensive zone.


Sharks projected lineup

Timo Meier -- Logan Couture - Gustav Nyquist

Evander Kane -- Tomas Hertl -- Lukas Radil

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: Dylan Gambrell, Tim Heed, Radim Simek, Antti Suomela

Injured: Joe Pavelski (undisclosed), Joonas Donskoi (undisclosed)


Avalanche projected lineup

Gabriel Landeskog -- Nathan MacKinnon -- Alexander Kerfoot

Colin Wilson -- Carl Soderberg -- Mikko Rantanen

Derick Brassard -- J.T. Compher - Matt Nieto

Sven Andrighetto -- Tyson Jost -- Gabriel Bourque

Ian Cole -- Erik Johnson

Nikita Zadorov -- Tyson Barrie

Samuel Girard -- Cale Makar

Philipp Grubauer

Semyon Varlamov

Scratched: Mark Barberio, Vladislav Kamenev, Patrik Nemeth, Ryan Graves

Injured: Matt Calvert (upper body)


Status report

Pavelski and Donskoi didn't travel. Each will miss a third straight game. … Nyquist is expected to arrive in time for Game 3. He was with his wife, who gave birth … Andrighetto will replace Calvert, who was injured late in the third period Sunday on a hit by Burns.


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