First of all, it’s the second game of the season between these teams. (The Avalanche were shut out 4-0 last time on Jan. 26.) Both teams are in desperate need of getting two points from a win since the Avs are last in their division with 16 points and the Sharks have 19 to their name. The Sharks won’t have the services of Ryane Clowe, who has been suspended two games for leaving the bench to fight on Feb. 22. In the Avalanche’s most recent game, they dropped a 2-0 lead to lose 4-3 in overtime to the Anaheim Ducks. Two more points would serve either team very well in the overall standings.
So yes, the number two is important this evening, but it’s not the only X-factor here.
For the Avs to succeed, they need to pile on the goals–pardon the crummy avalanche pun–and P.A. Parenteau could help with doing just that. His eight goals lead the team right now and, though he hasn’t had much exposure to the Sharks because he was previously with the Eastern Conference’s New York Islanders, he has managed to notch a goal in three career meetings with San Jose. Paul Stastny has five goals and 11 assists in 21 games against the Sharks, but Milan Hejduk has been phenomenal against San Jose because he’s seen them a lot: 17 goals and 23 assists in 52 games played.
In net, look for Semyon Varlamov to be countered with Antti Niemi. Like Parenteau, Varlamov doesn’t have a wealth of experience against the Sharks and holds a 2-3-0 career record against them. Interestingly, J-S Giguere, who was in net last month, also has a losing record with San Jose: 15-17-2.
Look! There are even more twos in those statistics. In the end, though, the search for the most important two, two points, will be what the Avs really aim for here.
Tune in tonight at 8:30 p.m. Mountain Time on Altitude.