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Avalanche Vs. Sharks: Offense Required

Fresh from their 6-3 beatdown of the St. Louis Blues on Monday night, Colorado finds yet another quality team is coming to Pepsi Center. This time, it's their opponent from last year's memorable --and physical -- first round playoff matchup.

San Jose comes to Denver on a hot streak, having won four of their past five. Their top forwards are producing, with Dany Heatley, Joe Thornton, and Patrick Marleau all contributing at least six goals and 10 assists apiece. Antero Nittymaki has been enjoying a renaissance season (.927 SV%, 1.91 GAA) in front of the always-solid Sharks defensive core.

Statistically speaking, the Sharks' special teams have carried them this season. Their penalty kill is average, but their power play has been something to behold. Not only do they draw a large number of penalties, but they convert those chances at a blistering 25% rate. Across the league, teams score 24.5% of their goals with a man advantage. The Sharks? 39.6% of their goals have come on the power play, an extraordinary number.

Colorado will need all the defensive help they can get while facing the Sharks' top forwards. Thankfully, they are finally getting healthy. Jonas Holos will be a healthy scratch tonight, as per Adrian Dater, but there are plenty of quick defensemen left on the roster. If John-Michael Liles continues his torrid start to the season, at both ends of the ice, then the Avalanche and their elite (and balanced) offense will match up well.

Colorado lost their previous matchup against San Jose this season, 4-2, on the strength of two Joe Pavelski power play goals.

Read More at Mile High Hockey.

The puck drops at 7pm MDT.