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Sharks-Avalanche Preview @NHL
Sharks-Avalanche Preview

GAME: San Jose Sharks (8-6-1) at Colorado Avalanche (7-4-2).

TIME: Tuesday, 9 p.m. EST.

A pair of teams that each had their respective winning streaks snapped in their last outings meet when the San Jose Sharks and Colorado Avalanche face off for the first time since the 2004 Western Conference semifinals.

San Jose had won five straight before losing 3-1 Saturday to the Minnesota Wild, while Colorado saw its four-game run come to an end with a 3-2 shootout defeat to the Dallas Stars on Saturday.

The Sharks had 36 shots on goal compared to Minnesota's 25, but San Jose goaltender Nolan Schaefer had his 143:21 scoreless streak end as Brian Rolston scored all three Wild goals.

"The team played a great game again and we outshot them," Schaefer said. "They had a couple of good opportunities where I couldn't shut the door and that was the difference."

Schaefer and the Sharks will now be facing a high-scoring Colorado squad.

The Avalanche are among the NHL leaders with 55 goals, and have played extremely well on special teams. Colorado has converted on just over 21 percent of its power-play chances, and has killed off almost 87 percent of opponents' chances. That's not good news for San Jose, which is 26th in the league on the power play.

Colorado had scored at least four goals in seven straight games before Saturday's loss, in which the Stars were the aggressors with 35 shots on goal.

Despite the defeat, Avalanche coach Joel Quenneville was content with his team's effort.

"I think we were working in the third period and we kept ourselves in the play and in the game," Quenneville said. "We were there in the overtime too. They might have been the better team tonight."

San Jose defeated Colorado in six games in 2004 to advance to the conference finals for the first time in its history.

This is the last game of a six-game homestand for Colorado, which plays nine of its final 12 contests this month on the road.

STANDINGS (through Nov. 7): Sharks - 17 points, 3rd place (tied), 3 PB, Pacific Division. Avalanche - 16 points, 5th place, 6 PB, Northwest Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Sharks - Patrick Marleau, 7 goals, 9 assists and 16 points; Mark Smith, 32 PIM. Avalanche - Antti Laaksonen, 6 goals; Alex Tanguay and John-Michael Liles, 10 assists; Liles, 14 points; Ian Laperriere, 34 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Nov. 7): Sharks - Power play: 13.8 percent (14 for 101), 26th in NHL. Penalty killing: 83.5 percent (66 for 79), 13th. Avalanche - Power play: 21.3 percent (19 for 89), 6th. Penalty killing: 86.7 percent (72 for 83), 5th.

GOALTENDERS: Sharks - Schaefer (5-1-0, 1 SO, 1.94 GAA); Evgeni Nabokov (3-2-0, 3.52). Avalanche - David Aebischer (6-3-0, 3.23); Peter Budaj (1-1-0, 2.67).

2003-04 SEASON SERIES: 1-1-1.

LAST MEETING: May 4, 2004; Sharks, 3-1. At Denver, the Sharks scored three goals in the second period and Nabokov was stellar in goal to help the Sharks finish off the Avalanche.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Sharks - 4-5-1 on the road; Avalanche - 5-2-2 at home.

Associated Press
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