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Tonight on Versus: Sharks and Avalanche look to end their losing ways

Patrick Marleau, Jean-Sebastien Giguere

San Jose Sharks’ Patrick Marleau (12) is shoved into the net while scoring a goal past Colorado Avalanche goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere (35) during the first period of an NHL hockey game on Sunday Nov. 20, 2011, in Denver. (AP Photo/Barry Gutierrez)


Tonight’s battle between the Sharks and Avalanche in Denver (9 p.m. ET on Versus) is the front end of a home-and-home set between the two and one that sees both teams looking to snap a losing streak.

The Sharks have lost two in a row and six of their last eight games. They’ve shaken up the lines to get Patrick Marleau focused and have bounced between Antti Niemi and Thomas Greiss in goal but consistency eludes them. Going from scoring goals in bunches to not scoring at all is frustrating and something that the skating Joes (Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski) hope to fix.

The Avalanche’s problems have been hanging around all season. They roll into tonight’s game losers of three in a row. With this current losing streak coming on the heels of a three game win streak, “frustration” is the most obvious word to use here and bag skating the team isn’t yielding results.

Semyon Varlamov has flip-flopped from playing brilliantly to getting lit up. Meanwhile, the bulk of the scoring falls on captain Milan Hejduk’s shoulders while other leaders Matt Duchene and Paul Stastny have struggled this season.

On the upside for Colorado, Stastny is due to return from injury tonight and the Avs are hoping he’s brought his old play making ways with him.

Rookie to watch: Gabriel Landeskog is about as good as it gets for Colorado and the 2011 draft’s second overall pick is showing that he’s worth all the hype. While playing on Colorado’s third line he’s picked up five goals and eight assists and on a team that doesn’t score a ton, he’s looked good.