After a first-round playoff loss to San Jose concluded Colorado's surprisingly successful 2009-10 season, the Avalanche have been anxiously anticipating their next meeting with the Sharks.
Back from a successful road swing, the Avalanche look to hand the Sharks a fourth straight loss Thursday night.
A season after recording a Western Conference-low 69 points, Colorado finished second in the Northwest Division and its 95 points were enough to earn the eighth playoff spot in 2009-10.
Facing the top-seeded Sharks in the opening round, the Avalanche won two of the first three before dropping three in a row -- two at home -- to fall in six games.
"We definitely have a bitter taste in our mouths from last year," forward Chris Stewart told the Avalanche's official website. "I'd say we're looking for a little bit of redemption and to show them that this is a new year."
That's certainly possible the way the teams have opened this season.
Colorado (4-2-0) leads the division and is coming off a 3-2-0 road trip, while San Jose (1-2-1) is tied for last in the West with three points entering its first road game on North American soil.
Though the Sharks are coming off two straight home losses and have dropped their last two regular-season games at the Pepsi Center, returning to the site where they ended the Avalanche's season could be a spark they desperately need.
"We have to sharpen some things up and get our focus back," said left wing Patrick Marleau, tied for the team lead with two goals.
Marleau scored those goals in a 5-2 loss to Carolina on Tuesday. The Sharks have scored two goals in each of their last three games since a 3-2 win over Columbus in Sweden to open the season Oct. 8.
"We have to find our game in a hurry," said captain Joe Thornton, who has two goals and two assists.
Marleau had three goals and two assists in four regular-season games against Colorado in 2009-10.
San Jose's Antti Niemi could be in net despite allowing nine goals in his last two contests. Niemi went 1-1-1 with a 3.25 goals-against average versus Colorado during his first two NHL seasons with Chicago.
Stewart has scored four of his five goals this season in his last three contests, notching two in a 3-1 win over the New York Rangers on Monday. He has been held to two assists in six regular-season games versus San Jose.
Avalanche defenseman John-Michael Liles recorded his eighth assist Monday and can set a franchise record with one in seven straight games to open a season Thursday.
Craig Anderson is likely to be in net after he made 31 saves against the Rangers. Anderson, who has a 2.59 GAA while starting each game this season, was 2-2-0 with a 3.27 GAA against the Sharks in 2009-10.