NHL on NBCSN: Avs face Sharks with Conference title in sight
NBCSN continues its coverage of the 2013-14 campaign tonight when the San Jose Sharks host the Colorado Avalanche at the SAP Center at 10:00 p.m. ET. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game online.
The Avalanche ranked last in the Western Conference last season. Could they finish first in 2013-14? That’s a real possibility after Colorado’s 4-2 victory over Vancouver last night.
With a 52-21-7 record, the Avalanche are just a point back of the Conference-leading Anaheim Ducks with two games remaining. Along the way, Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov has broken his coach, Patrick Roy’s, franchise win record with his 41st victory of the season.
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For any team that would be a huge accomplishment, but it’s especially remarkable given how far Colorado has come in so little time. That doesn’t mean the team’s ready to declare victory though.
“As a team, we haven’t done anything yet,” Avalanche captain Gabe Landeskog told the Denver Post after Thursday’s win. “We’re certainly in a good spot, but we haven’t accomplished anything yet.”
The playoffs are still what matters and tonight’s game against San Jose is important to Colorado in that regard. While the Avalanche has already secured home ice advantage in the first round, they are still competing with the St. Louis Blues for the Central Division title. The winner will get to start the postseason against a Wild Card team. The loser will have to play the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks.
The Sharks’ playoff position is already determined. No matter what happens in their final two games, they will start the first round at home against the Los Angeles Kings.
That doesn’t mean this game is meaningless to the Sharks though. They still want to go into the playoffs with some momentum after dropping six of their last nine.
“We’ve got two games left against two good teams to get ready for the playoffs,” Logan Couture said, per CSN Bay Area. “That’s got to be our focus right now, is get our game to the level it needs to be.”
On top of that, these two teams might still face each other in the postseason, even if it won’t be in the first round. After all, these are two great squads with high aspirations.