Programming note: Sharks-Avalanche coverage starts tonight at 7:00 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live on Comcast SportsNet California
Where they stand
Sharks: 17-15-2, 36 points, 4th Pacific Division
Avalanche: 17-17-2, 36 points, 6th Central Division
Sharks: Playing their first game after the Christmas break tonight, the Sharks are opening up a five-game homestand, their longest of the season so far. San Jose is coming off of a 3-1-1 road trip that concluded with a 5-3 win in Los Angeles on Dec. 22. The Sharks are 4-9 at home, and 13-6-2 on the road.
Avalanche: Colorado dropped a 2-1 overtime decision at home against Arizona last night. After winning five straight from Dec. 12-19, the Avalanche are 0-1-1 in their last two games. Tonight is their only road game in a 10-game stretch, where they are 11-9-0.
Keep an eye on…
Sharks: Brent Burns. The Sharks defenseman leads all NHL blueliners with 14 goals, and has eight points in his last four games (4g, 4a). Burns is third in the NHL with 150 shots on goal; 32 more than any other defenseman (Dustin Byfuglien, 118). Although he’s still a team-worst -13, Burns has been an even or plus player in four of his last five games.
Avalanche: Nathan MacKinnon. The 2014 Calder Trophy winner leads the Avalanche in points (30), assists (20) and shots (113), and has three goals in six career games against San Jose. He had one assist and tied for the team lead with six shots on goal last night in Arizona.
Dainius Zubrus – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Matt Nieto – Patrick Marleau – Joel Ward
Joonas Donskoi – Chris Tierney – Tommy Wingels
Melker Karlsson – Tomas Hertl – Mike Brown
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Paul Martin – Brent Burns
Brenden Dillon – Dylan DeMelo
Martin Jones (confirmed starter)
Gabriel Landeskog – John Mitchell – Matt Duchene
Alex Tanguay – Nathan MacKinnon – Jarome Iginla
Andreas Martinsen – Carl Soderberg – Blake Comeau
Cody McLeod – Mikhail Grigorenko – Jack Skille
Francois Beauchemin – Erik Johnson
Nick Holden – Tyson Barrie
Nate Guenin – Zach Redmond
Calvin Pickard (confirmed starter)
Goals per game: 2.71 (10th)
Goals-against per game: 2.76 (23rd)
Power play: 20.9 percent (7th)
Penalty kill: 83.7 percent (6th)
Goals per game: 2.78 (7th)
Goals-against per game: 2.75 (21st)
Power play: 18.0 percent (18th)
Penalty kill: 79.8 percent (19th)
Sharks: Logan Couture (arterial bleeding in right thigh) is out.
Avalanche: Reto Berra (ankle), Brad Stuart (undisclosed) and Jesse Winchester (concussion) are out.
The Sharks won in Colorado on Nov. 1, 4-3, powered by a pair of goals by Brent Burns. They return to Pepsi Center on Feb. 24 for the third and final meeting.