|6:00 PM PT7:00 PM MT8:00 PM CT9:00 PM ET1:00 GMT9:00 6:00 PM MST8:00 PM EST5:00 UAE (+1)21:00 ET22:00 BRT, April 30, 2021
Ball Arena, Denver, Colorado Attendance: 4,045
Avalanche hoping to regroup with two games vs. Sharks
San Jose Sharks at Colorado Avalanche
- Colorado has gone 5-1-0 against San Jose since the beginning of the 2020 calendar year, outscoring the Sharks 24-12 in that span. In the last three games played in Colorado, the Avs have outscored the Sharks 14-3.
- The Avalanche have allowed a power-play goal in six straight games, the longest active streak in the NHL. The Avs have allowed 14 power-play goals in April, matching the team's total power-play goals allowed in January, February, and March combined.
- Nathan MacKinnon had an assist on Wednesday, extending his point streak to 15 games, now the longest point streak in the NHL this season, breaking a tie with Dougie Hamilton's 14-game streak in February-March.
- Evander Kane scored his 20th goal of the season Wednesday, his sixth straight 20-goal season. Of the skaters who entered the season with at least five consecutive 20-goal seasons, only Kane, Alex Ovechkin (15 seasons), Brad Marchand (seven seasons) and Aleksander Barkov (five seasons) have scored 20+ goals in 2020-21.
- Colorado has lost three straight games for the first time this season, all by multiple goals. This is Colorado's first three-game streak of multi-goal losses since January-February 2019, when the team dropped four straight.
- San Jose has failed to score a power-play goal in nine straight games -- there have only been three longer streaks in the NHL this season (Sabres-15, Red Wings-14, Maple Leafs-11). The Sharks haven't gone as many games without a power-play goal since a 10-game streak in November-December 2019.
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It wasn't long ago that the Colorado Avalanche were the hottest team in the NHL and headed for the West Division title and home-ice advantage for at least two rounds.
A COVID-19 pause and the first three-game losing streak of the season have Colorado in second place -- barely -- and facing long odds in catching the streaking Vegas Golden Knights.
The Avalanche (31-12-4, 66 points) can start to turn things around Friday night when they host the San Jose Sharks for the first of two games on consecutive nights. Colorado could also get key players back for the stretch run.
Goaltender Philipp Grubauer and forwards Mikko Rantanen and Joonas Donskoi could return as early as Friday, which would be a big boost. Grubauer is having a Vezina Trophy-type season but has missed the last five games after contracting the coronavirus.
Rantanen, the team's leading goal scorer with 26, hasn't played the last four games, while Donskoi has missed five games.
"It's going to change the dynamic of our team," coach Jared Bednar said after Wednesday night's 5-2 loss at Vegas.
The Avalanche traded for goaltenders Jonas Johansson and Devan Dubnyk in the last six weeks, and both have filled in for Grubauer. Dubnyk, a veteran with plenty of playoff experience, allowed a goal 10 seconds into Wednesday night's loss and stopped 21 of 25 shots overall.
"It wasn't a great night for him," Bednar said.
Colorado has nine games remaining, with eight of those coming against the Sharks and Los Angeles Kings, two teams out of the playoff picture and with slim hopes of reaching the postseason.
San Jose (20-24-5, 45 points) was a game above .500 three weeks ago but went into a prolonged slump, going 0-7-1 before winning back-to-back games against Arizona this week. The Sharks take that two-game winning streak into the two games in Denver, and if things break just right, they can catch St. Louis, which is currently fourth, five points ahead of San Jose.
The Sharks were peering into the offseason and beyond before the wins over the Coyotes, and while they still have a shot at the playoffs, they will also look at some young players, too.
"There's going to be some games here where there are probably going to be some young guys getting in, and that's the position we put ourselves in," coach Bob Boughner said before the two games with Arizona. "We've got to move forward. We've got to make sure that we're working on culture, we're working on being positive, and we're working on working hard and being in games."
Colorado has won three of the first four games from San Jose, and two of those victories have been shutouts. Grubauer was in net for all three victories, and if he can bounce back from having the coronavirus, he will have a chance for another one Friday night.
The Avalanche are going for victory No. 1,000 since the franchise moved from Quebec to Colorado in 1995. Since becoming the Avalanche, they are 999-727-101 and have 142 ties.
--Field Level Media
Updated April 29, 2021