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Second Round

Sharks prepare for 'dangerous' Avalanche in second round

San Jose wary of MacKinnon, Colorado heading into Game 1

by David Satriano @davidsatriano / Staff Writer

SAN JOSE -- The San Jose Sharks expect a tough test in the Western Conference Second Round from the Colorado Avalanche, who they went 3-0-0 against in the regular season.

Game 1 of the best-of-7 series is at SAP Center on Friday (10 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS).

"All regular-season games are just wiped out," Sharks forward Kevin Labanc said after practice Thursday. "It's playoff hockey and anything can happen. You see [the Tampa Bay Lightning], they lost 4-0 to Columbus (Blue Jackets in the first round) and I'm pretty sure they had a good regular-season record against them (3-0-0, outscoring them 17-3)."


[RELATED: Complete Sharks vs. Avalanche series coverage]


The Sharks outscored the Avalanche 14-9, winning two games by one goal. Colorado, which was the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference, eliminated the Calgary Flames from the first round in five games by winning four in a row after a 4-0 loss in Game 1. Calgary had the best record in the Western Conference this season. 

"I think the regular season, you throw out the window this time of year," Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said. "We are watching them against Calgary and what they did to them against a real good D-corps, so we know what we are dealing with and that's going to be the challenge of the series."

Forward Logan Couture, who had three assists in the three regular-season games against the Avalanche, agreed.

Video: VGK@SJS, Gm7: Couture wires home wrister for PPG

"They played extremely well, they looked fast, they looked dangerous every time they had the puck," he said. "Every time [center Nathan] MacKinnon touched the puck, I thought he was going to score or create a scoring opportunity. They were fun to watch. ... If you watched a game of that series, there's no way you can take that team lightly. They looked really, really good."

MacKinnon had eight points (three goals, five assists) against Calgary, including an overtime goal in Game 2. 

"They are a deep group," Sharks center Joe Thornton said. "You don't beat Calgary if you're a one-line pony, so they got a lot of good players on that team, good backend. It's a real test for us."

The Sharks, who trailed the Vegas Golden Knights 3-1 in the first round, won Game 7 on Tuesday, 5-4 in overtime. The Avalanche have not played since April 19.

Video: Sharks dispatch Vegas in epic seven games to advance

"If you're asking me if I'd rather have a week off, I'd take the week off," DeBoer said. "I don't think there's an advantage. We just played two overtime games (Games 6 and 7). ... I'm more worried about our emotional level than our physical. You're fighting for your life for three games in a row. That taxes you emotionally so we've got to get our emotional levels back up when we come out on the ice on Friday night."

San Jose likely will be without forward Joe Pavelski, who sustained an undisclosed injury at 9:13 of the third period in Game 7 when he crashed to the ice after being cross-checked by Golden Knights forward Cody Eakin and colliding with Vegas center Paul Stastny.

DeBoer said the Sharks captain is day to day.

"We're confident in the guys we have here," DeBoer said. "Some of the guys have only played 15-20 games, 10 games whatever, but the guys that we have available to us, we have confidence in that whoever is out there is going to get it done."

The Sharks have home-ice advantage in the series, but the Avalanche won two of three games in Calgary in the first round.

"Playoff hockey," Labanc said. "It doesn't matter, and you just have to be ready for everything that they are going to throw at you and make sure you are going to throw it right back."


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