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Sharks at Avalanche preview

San Jose center Thornton climbs NHL games played list; Colorado tries to end winless skid

by Rick Sadowski / Independent Correspondent

SHARKS (21-23-4) at AVALANCHE (25-15-6)



The Game

Joe Thornton will play his 1,615th NHL game and tie Larry Murphy for 10th place on the League all-time list when the San Jose Sharks visit the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center on Thursday.

The 40-year-old center, in his 22nd season in the League, has 1,497 points (415 goals, 1,082 assists), three shy of becoming the 14th player in NHL history to reach 1,500 points.

Goalie Martin Jones will start for the Sharks, 4-2-1 in their past seven games after going 2-9-2 in their previous 13. 

Goalie Philipp Grubauer will start for the Avalanche, who will try to end a four-game winless streak (0-2-2). Colorado is 3-6-3 in its past 12 games after going 9-1-1 in its previous 11, and 1-4-2 in its past seven at home.


Players to watch

Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson has seven points (one goal, six assists) in a six-game point streak and is two points shy of 600 in the NHL.

Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon has 12 points (five goals, seven assists) in his past seven games.


They said it

"Looking at [Colorado's] offensive zone play, if we don't end plays quickly, they're going to have a ton of motion where you'll be chasing from behind, and that's scary against those guys. Every position on the ice, every zone, we have to play as a five-man unit. It can't just be a one-on-one battle all over the ice tonight." -- Sharks coach Bob Boughner

"For us in here it's about keeping that positive mentality. We know how good we are, we just got to continue to stay with it. For me, it's about doing the same thing and eventually it's going to go your way." -- Avalanche center Nazem Kadri


Sharks projected lineup

Evander Kane -- Tomas Hertl -- Kevin Labanc

Patrick Marleau -- Antti Suomela -- Timo Meier

Marcus Sorensen -- Joe Thornton -- Barclay Goodrow

Melker Karlsson -- Joel Kellman -- Stefan Noesen

Marc-Edouard Vlasic -- Erik Karlsson

Brenden Dillon -- Brent Burns

Radim Simek -- Mario Ferraro

Martin Jones

Aaron Dell

Scratched: Joachim Blichfeld, Tim Heed

Injured: Logan Couture (fractured ankle), Dalton Prout (upper body)


Avalanche projected lineup

Gabriel Landeskog -- Nathan MacKinnon -- Mikko Rantanen

Valeri Nichushkin -- Nazem Kadri -- Andre Burakovsky

Matt Calvert -- Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - J.T. Compher

Matt Nieto -- Tyson Jost -- Vladislav Kamenev

Ryan Graves -- Cale Makar

Samuel Girard -- Erik Johnson

Ian Cole -- Nikita Zadorov

Philipp Grubauer

Pavel Francouz

Scratched: Mark Barberio

Injured: Joonas Donskoi (concussion protocol), Colin Wilson (lower body)


Status report

Donskoi, a forward, will miss his third game. He skated for the fifth straight day and could return against the St. Louis Blues on Saturday.


Stat pack

San Jose is 7-2-1 in its past 10 games against Colorado. … Girard has 11 assists in his past seven games.

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