Avalanche-Sharks Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated January 25, 2013
San Jose Sharks coach Todd McLellan is pleased that his team's offense is clicking. His whole team has generally been on top of its game in recent years against the Colorado Avalanche. The unbeaten Sharks look to continue their early success Saturday as they try for a seventh straight overall win against the Avalanche and a ninth consecutive regular-season series victory at home. Ranked 13th in the NHL with 219 goals last season, San Jose (3-0-0) is on pace to surpass that total even though it will play 34 fewer games due to the lockout. The Sharks have netted 15 goals, with Patrick Marleau scoring twice in each of the first three games. He is the first player to accomplish that feat since Peter Stastny - father of Avs center Paul Stastny - in 1982-83 with the Quebec Nordiques. Logan Couture has three goals, Dan Boyle and Martin Havlat both have two, and captain Joe Thornton (eight) and Joe Pavelski (seven) are among the NHL assist leaders. "Teams are going to count on their big guys to get the job done," said McLellan, whose team opened its home schedule with Thursday's 5-3 win over Phoenix. "Ours are producing right now.'' The Sharks have outscored the Avs 25-11 during their regular-season home winning streak in this series. San Jose found the back of the net five times in both of Colorado's visits to HP Pavilion last season. Repeating that effort could be a challenge given how the Avs (2-1-0) have shored up their defense since a 4-2 season-opening loss at Minnesota. Semyon Varlamov has turned aside 61 of 62 shots and Colorado has killed all 12 penalties - extending its streak to 16 - while winning its last two. "The guys did a great job for me,'' Varlamov said after making 33 saves in Thursday's 4-0 home win over Columbus. "They blocked a lot of shots, so I can say thanks.'' Center John Mitchell received plenty of praise for his play and his toughness after getting hit in the face by the puck in the first period Thursday, then returning to net his second goal of the season in the third. He's tied with Matt Duchene and fellow newcomer P.A. Parenteau for the team lead. "(Mitchell) has been really good for us in the first three games," coach Joe Sacco told the Avs' official website. "Certainly I like the way he has played; he is versatile, he can kill penalties, he can play on our power play. He can do a lot for us." Sacco is going to need a lot from his special teams, as San Jose has converted 7 of 18 on the power play. The Sharks' penalty kill has room for improvement - it's allowed five goals in 14 attempts - but goaltender Antti Niemi has given up just two even-strength goals in three starts. Niemi is 4-0-0 with a 1.47 goals-against average in four home starts versus Colorado since joining San Jose in 2010-11. Veteran center Scott Gomez could make his Sharks debut after signing with the club on Wednesday.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Ball brothers’ H.S. coach details how hard LaVar Ball is to work with

Philip Rivers shares thoughts on Chargers possibly drafting QB

Molina rips Jones for saying Puerto Rico celebrated early

Bill Murray goes nuts celebrating Xavier’s upset

Pat Kelsey ditches UMass right before first press conference

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Top GM candidates not interested in Redskins job due to Daniel Snyder

Carmelo Anthony: Knicks were more free-flowing before triangle emphasis

Report: Deal in works for Raiders to play at Sam Boyd Stadium in Vegas

Yoenis Cespedes: MLB would grow if they played with Latin culture

Georgetown fires John Thompson III after 13 seasons

GGG, Canelo Alvarez reportedly resume fight talks

Box Score 3/24: Waiting on West Virginia

Eat, Drink, Watch: Weekends are for upsets

The 'Once again, Barry Bonds is the best power hitter in San Francisco' quiz

With Team USA's victory, World Baseball Classic (finally) lived up to its potential

The NFL distraction playbook

Which Sweet 16 team should you be rooting for?

The Aesthetic: The world of player exclusive sneakers

Lingering issues for each 2016 MLB postseason team

Box Score 3/23: Team USA wins their first WBC title

The 'Duke schadenfreude season came early this year' quiz

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Steph Curry pushes OKC's buttons

Re-ranking the Sweet 16 for the NCAA Tournament

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Eat, Drink, Watch: Weekends are for upsets

The 'Once again, Barry Bonds is the best power hitter in San Francisco' quiz

The NFL distraction playbook

With Team USA's victory the WBC (finally) lived up to its potential

The Aesthetic: The world of player exclusive sneakers

Which Sweet 16 team should you be rooting for?

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Steph Curry pushes OKC's buttons

Re-ranking the Sweet 16 for the NCAA Tournament

Lingering issues for each 2016 MLB postseason team

Eastern Conference bottom feeders to watch down the stretch

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker