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(Sports Network) - After posting a winning road trip, the Colorado Avalanche return home to the Pepsi Center for the first time in two weeks this evening looking to earn a bit of revenge over the San Jose Sharks, who knocked them out of the playoffs a season ago in the first round.
The Avalanche picked up an overtime victory over Chicago in Denver back on Oct. 7 in their season opener before hitting the road for five straight. Colorado picked up three victories on the swing, capping it with Monday's 3-1 triumph over the New York Rangers.
Chris Stewart netted a pair of power-play goals, giving him four tallies over his last three games, while Daniel Winnik also lit the lamp. Defenseman John Michael-Liles notched an assist to give him at least one helper in each of his first six games, tying the longest such run in club history to start a season.
Craig Anderson made 31 saves for the Avs, who have won three of their last four and are aiming for consecutive victories tonight. To do that, they will need to best the club that knocked them out of the 2010 playoffs in six games.
"They're a huge rival," Stewart told Colorado's website of the Sharks. "They're the only team I've ever played in the playoffs. We definitely have a bitter taste in our mouths from last year. I'd say we're looking for a little bit of redemption and to show them that this is a new year."
Anderson is 2-5-0 with a 3.48 goals-against average in seven regular-season games versus the Sharks and posted a 2.62 GAA in last year's playoffs with a shutout.
Stewart, meanwhile, has never scored in six regular-season games when facing the Sharks, but had three goals in the postseason.
The Avs play two straight and six of their next eight at home. Brandon Yip has missed the last two games due to a groin injury and is questionable for tonight, as is David Jones after he suffered an arm injury versus the Rangers.
San Jose will hope that its rematch with Colorado will provide a spark. Though the Sharks split four games with the Avs during the regular season last year, dropping both games at Pepsi Center, they have still won six of the last eight regular-season meetings.
The Sharks have dropped three straight (0-2-1) since winning their season- opener in Stockholm, Sweden over the Blue Jackets and are coming off a 5-2 setback to the Hurricanes on Tuesday.
"We missed a number of chances around the net," Sharks head coach Todd McLellan said. "We had a number of turnovers and out-numbered rushes that we gave up. It's unacceptable."
Niemi, who backstopped the Blackhawks to a Stanley Cup title last year, is 1-1-1 with a 3.25 GAA in his career versus Colorado.