Series (Game 1 of 4)

San Jose leads 3-1

Game 1: Sunday, November 20th
Game 2: Tuesday, December 13th
Game 3: Thursday, December 15th
Game 4: Monday, March 26th

Sharks 4

(12-5-1, 25 pts)

Avalanche 1

(9-11-1, 19 pts)

8:00 PM ET, November 20, 2011

Pepsi Center, Denver, Colorado

1 2 3 T
SJ 1 2 14
COL 1 0 01

P. Marleau (Sharks - C): Goals: 3, Assists: 0

M. Vlasic (Sharks - D): Goals: 0, Assists: 3

M. Duchene (Avalanche - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

Sharks-Avalanche Preview


The San Jose Sharks have had little trouble finding the back of the net recently. They'll try to continue that trend against a team with a backup goalie who's currently outperforming the starter.

The Sharks go for their third straight win when they visit the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday night.

San Jose (11-5-1) has won four of five, outscoring opponents 16-6 in the four wins. The Sharks followed a 5-2 victory over Detroit on Thursday with a 4-1 win at Dallas on Saturday, improving to 6-2-0 away from home this season.

"For whatever reason, we're confident on the road," said Joe Thornton, who had two assists against the Stars. "We like playing on the road. It took us a while to get into the game, but we got our legs and got going."

Eight players have scored San Jose's nine goals in the last two victories, with Brad Winchester scoring in each game. The balanced production has helped take pressure off leading scorer Joe Pavelski (18 points), who has one goal in his last four games.

Thornton has eight points in his last six games, including six assists.

While Antti Niemi has won his last four starts overall and three consecutive starts against the Avalanche, the Sharks may turn to backup goaltender Thomas Greiss for the second half of their back-to-back. Greiss is 3-3-0 this season with a 2.16 goals-against average.

Whomever is in net will try to help San Jose continue its recent success against the Avalanche. The Sharks haven't lost in regulation to Colorado since a 5-2 defeat on Oct. 1, 2009. They have gone 5-0-2 since, winning the last two meetings.

San Jose visits Colorado (9-10-1) after the Avalanche defeated Dallas 3-0 on Friday to end a three-game losing streak. Jean-Sebastien Giguere had 24 saves while Chuck Kobasew and Paul Stastney scored and Matt Duchene added an empty-net goal.

Giguere was starting on back-to-back nights after losing 1-0 to Minnesota. He is 4-2-0 with a 1.68 GAA on the season.

"He's playing very well," coach Joe Sacco said. "The play that we've gotten from him is exactly what we expected."

The Avalanche have turned increasingly to Giguere this week as starter Semyon Varlamov has been shaky in his first season with Colorado. He has dropped his last six decisions, and is 5-8-1 with a 3.30 GAA in 2011-12, but the 23-year-old Russian has the confidence of his veteran backup.

"The future of this team belongs to Varly, there's no doubt about that," Giguere said. "Just like any young guy on this team you're going to have ups and downs. I don't have any doubt about Varly. You know he's going to bounce back. My job in the meanwhile is to take over and try to do the best that I can and give the team a chance."

Giguere has lost his last three starts against the Sharks, most recently in February 2010. Varlamov's only start against San Jose was a victory for Washington in 2009.

Colorado is 3-6-0 on home ice -- tied for the fewest home wins in the NHL.