Programming note – Sharks-Avalanche coverage starts today at 7:00 on CSN California with Sharks Pregame Live
WHERE THEY STAND
Sharks: 28-16-2, 58 points, 2nd Pacific Division
Avalanche: 13-29-1, 27 points, 7th Central Division
PREGAME NEWS AND NOTES
***Not only are the Avalanche buried in last place in the Central Division, but they are just 2-14-0 in their last 16 games, including losses in their last four. Colorado has not won a game in regulation since Dec. 11 in Toronto, getting just a pair of overtime wins since then.
The Sharks visit Pepsi Center on Monday for the second of a back-to-back. It should be four points in the bank, but, predictably that's not the approach they’re taking.
“You don’t look at where they’re at in the standings,” Logan Couture said. “They’ve got some very good players, some top end skill up front. So, we know it’s going to be a tough game. They can create a lot off the rush, those guys. It’s going to be a challenge.”
The Sharks have won three straight, and are 5-2-0 in their last seven.
Pete DeBoer said: “For me, this more of a mindset game. We've been playing some very solid hockey the last few games against some tough opponents, and we have to bring that mindset in here again tonight."
***In goal, Martin Jones will return after it was Aaron Dell in net for Thursday’s win over Tampa Bay.
The Sharks netminder has struggled after taking a game off, going 1-5-0 with a 2.85 goals-against average and .890 save percentage in six games. Last season, he was just 5-10-1 with a 2.54 GAA and .899 SP the game after not starting.
Colorado will go with Spencer Martin, who will be making his NHL debut. A third round pick in 2013, Martin is 15-9-2 with a 2.62 GAA and .915 SP in 27 games for San Antonio (AHL).
“Obviously, we don't want to make it easy on him,” DeBoer said. “We want to fire pucks and get traffic and get lots of action around the net, but we're not spending a whole lot of time on that.”
***The Sharks will ice their same lineup from Thursday, other than the goaltender change. Timo Meier remains out with an upper body injury.
KEEP AN EYE ON...
Sharks: Ryan Carpenter. The 26-year-old center opened the scoring in the Sharks’ win over Tampa Bay on Thursday, and is making his case to stay on roster at least while Tomas Hertl remains out. Carpenter, who has two goals, eight shots, and a plus-three rating in five games this season, will play in his third straight game tonight after getting recalled early in the week.
Avalanche: Matt Nieto. After he was pushed out of the Sharks’ lineup, Matt Nieto was waived by San Jose and promptly claimed by Colorado on Jan. 5. Wearing his familiar uniform number 83, Nieto scored his first goal with the Avalanche on Tuesday against Chicago, and has two points and eight shots on goal in five games with his new team.
Patrick Marleau – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Joonas Donskoi – Logan Couture – Mikkel Boedker
Kevin Labanc – Chris Tierney – Joel Ward
Melker Karlsson – Ryan Carpenter – Tommy Wingels
Paul Martin – Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon – David Schlemko
Martin Jones (starter)
Mikko Rantanen – Nathan Mackinnon – Rene Bourque
Gabriel Landeskog – Matt Duchene – Matt Nieto
Blake Comeau – Carl Soderberg – Jarome Iginla
Joe Colborne – John Mitchell – Mikhail Grigorekno
Fedor Tyutin – Tyson Barrie
Cody Goloubef – Nikita Zadorov
Francois Beauchemin – Eric Gelinas
Spencer Martin (starter)
Sharks: Timo Meier (upper body), Micheal Haley (lower body), Dylan DeMelo (broken wrist) and Tomas Hertl (right knee sprain) are out.
Avalanche: Semyon Varlamov (groin) and Erik Johnson (broken fibula) are out.
“It’s a bittersweet moment. Selfishly, you’re upset that you’re not going to be on the same team as him anymore and you’re not going to see him every day, but the other part of you is happy for him because he’s going to get an opportunity somewhere.”– Logan Couture, on Matt Nieto getting claimed by Avalanche earlier this month.