Programming note: Sharks-Avalanche coverage starts tonight at 7pm on NBCSN.
Where they stand
Sharks: 32-21-5, 69 points, 3rd Pacific Division
Avalanche: 31-27-4, 66 points, 5th Central Division
The Sharks trail the Kings by five points in the Pacific Division, with one game in hand, and the Ducks by one point for second place. Anaheim hosts Buffalo tonight.
Sharks: Tomas Hertl, Logan Couture and Joe Thornton all scored twice in a 6-3 beating of the Blues on Monday at Scottrade Center. San Jose is 3-1 on its current road trip, which ends tonight, and is tied for the league lead with 21 road victories overall (Washington).
Avalanche: Colorado lost decisively to the Canucks in Vancouver on Saturday, 5-1. Prior to that, it had won four of its last five. The Avalanche currently occupies the second and final Wild Card spot in the Western Conference.
Keep an eye on…
Sharks: Roman Polak. The hulking defenseman will make his Sharks debut tonight paired with Brenden Dillon, who will be playing after missing the last six games due to an upper injury. Polak, 29, will add some size and toughness to the blue line, and provide some much-needed depth that had been lacking at that position since training camp.
Avalanche: Tyson Barrie. The defenseman is enjoying another strong offensive season with 40 points (10g, 30a) from the blue line. The 24-year-old has seven points (2g, 5a) in his last six games, and three helpers against San Jose in three games this season.
Tomas Hertl – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Matt Nieto – Patrick Marleau – Joel Ward
Joonas Donskoi – Logan Couture – Melker Karlsson
Nick Spaling – Chris Tierney – Dainius Zubrus
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Paul Martin – Brent Burns
Brenden Dillon – Roman Polak
Martin Jones (confirmed starter)
Mikhail Grigorenko – Matt Duchene – Jarome Iginla
Gabriel Landeskog – Carl Soderberg – Blake Comeau
Alex Tanguay – Nathan Mackinnon – Shawn Matthias
Cody McLeod – John Mitchell – Jack Skille
Francois Beauchemin – Erik Johnson
Nick Holden – Tyson Barrie
Chris Bigras – Andrew Bodnarchuk
Calvin Pickard (confirmed starter)
Goals per game: 2.95 (4th)
Goals-against per game: 2.67 (14th)
Power play: 22.6 percent (3rd)
Penalty kill: 79.7 percent (20th)
Goals per game: 2.63 (15th)
Goals-against per game: 2.79 (10th)
Power play: 19.0 percent (13th)
Penalty kill: 79.6 percent (21st)
Sharks: Tommy Wingels (upper body) and Matt Tennyson (possible concussion) are out.
Avalanche: Brad Stuart (back surgery) and Ben Street (chest) are out.
The Sharks have won two of the first three meetings with Colorado, the only Central Division team they face four times, including a 4-3 victory at Pepsi Center on Nov. 1.
Brent Burns leads San Jose with five points against Colorado (2g, 3a), while Nathan MacKinnon has four goals against San Jose.
Odds and ends
*Along with Polak, Nick Spaling is expected to make his Sharks debut tonight.
*Martin Jones is 13-3-1 with a 2.09 goals-against average and .925 save percentage in his last 17 games.
*Joe Thornton has 28 points in the last 17 games (7g, 21a) and has moved into a tie with Joe Pavelski for the team lead in scoring (55 points each).