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Sharks, Avalanche to play Game 7 with trip to Western Final on line

San Jose 4-1 at home in deciding games; Colorado 0-3 on road in situation

by Sean McCullen / Staff Writer

The San Jose Sharks and Colorado Avalanche will play Game 7 of the Western Conference Second Round at San Jose on Wednesday (9 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS).

The Avalanche forced Game 7 with a 4-3 overtime win Monday that tied the best-of-7 Stanley Cup Playoff series.

"It's a huge step for our team," said Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog, who scored the game-winner Monday. "It's a great opportunity for us to ... 60 minutes away from the Western Conference Final. I mean, who would have thought [it] before the season, who would have thought [it] before this series or whatever so, for us, we keep believing, and you've just got to instill that doubt in that team on the other side, and at this point, I doubt the last thing they wanted to do was go back and play another one at home in San Jose. We accomplished step No. 1 to win this one, now we've got to regroup and win another one."

The teams have played each other in Game 7 once, a 1-0 win for the Avalanche in the 2002 Western Conference Semifinals.

The Sharks are 7-4 in Game 7, including 4-1 at home. They advanced to the second round with a 5-4 overtime win against the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 7 of the first round.

"I mean, we've won Game 7s in our building before," center Logan Couture said. "Right now, we're pretty [upset] that we lost this game, but we've got to go and win a home game."

Couture has six points (four goals, two assists), the most by a San Jose player in Game 7. He has played in five, tied for third most on the Sharks with defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic behind forwards Joe Pavelski (six) and Joe Thornton (seven).   

San Jose goalie Martin Jones is 2-0 in Game 7. He made 34 saves against Vegas in the first round and 20 in a 5-0 win against the Nashville Predators in the 2016 second round on the way to the Stanley Cup Final.

The Avalanche are 4-6 in Game 7 since relocating from Quebec for the 1995-96 season (0-3 on the road), including a 3-1 win against the New Jersey Devils in the 2001 Stanley Cup Final. They have not played a Game 7 since a 5-4 overtime loss to the Minnesota Wild in the 2014 first round.

Three Colorado players (defenseman Ian Cole and forwards Derick Brassard and Colin Wilson) have played in more than one Game 7. Brassard has three assists in six games, and Wilson (two games) played for the Predators against the Sharks in the 2016 second round.

Avalanche goalie Philipp Grubauer has not played in a Game 7. Backup Semyon Varlamov is 1-3 in four games with a 3.51 goals-against average and .833 save percentage.

Sharks coach Peter DeBoer is 3-0 in Game 7, including 2-0 with San Jose. He was Devils coach for a 3-2 double-overtime win against the Florida Panthers in the 2012 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, a victory that sprung New Jersey to the Stanley Cup Final.

"This is a resilient group," DeBoer said. "They've shown that all year. We're excited about the opportunity and excited that it's at home in front of our fans."

It will be the first Game 7 for Avalanche coach Jared Bednar, who is in his third NHL season.

"It's Game 7," Colorado center Tyson Jost said. "It's what you dream of as a kid. It's going to be huge for our team. We're excited right now. We want to keep that rolling. It was an awesome game by us (in Game 6) but we have to bag it and look forward to Game 7." staff writers Tim Campbell and David Satriano, and correspondent Rick Sadowski contributed to this report

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