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6:30 PM PT7:30 PM MT8:30 PM CT9:30 PM ET2:30 GMT10:30 7:30 PM MST9:30 PM EST6:30 UAE (+1)21:30 ETNaN:� BRT, January 2, 2019
Pepsi Center, Denver, Colorado  Attendance: 17,891

Sharks-Avalanche Preview

San Jose Sharks at Colorado Avalanche

  1. This will be the first meeting of the season between the Sharks and Avalanche -- the home team won all three meetings between these teams last season. The Avalanche took no more than 25 SOG in any of those games, while the Sharks took at least 36 SOG in each of them.
  2. The Sharks and their opponents combined to score 7.07 goals per game in December, the third-highest mark in the NHL (Lightning, 7.86; Maple Leafs, 7.15). Over their last two games, 24 goals have been scored between them and their opponents -- that ties for the most in two games in the NHL this season.
  3. The Avalanche scored 37 goals in December after scoring 56 in November (-19). That was the third-largest decrease in goals from November to December in the NHL (Senators, -22; Sabres, -21).
  4. From the beginning of the season through December 15, the Avalanche scored 3.67 goals per game, third in the NHL. Since that date, the Avalanche have scored 1.86 goals per game -- only the Wild have been worse in the NHL (1.50).
  5. Eric Karlsson had 16 assists in December, tying him for second in the NHL (Nikita Kucherov, 21). He has had an assist in 10 consecutive player games, making him the second player this season with an assist streak of at least 10 games (Sebastian Aho, 12). However, Karlsson missed the team's games on December 23 and 27 over this stretch, so the NHL would not officially recognize this streak.
  6. Nathan MacKinnon has scored a goal in three of his last four games, but he finished December with six goals, his fewest in a month this season. His +3 plus/minus led the team in December -- he and Gabriel Landeskog (+1) were the only skaters with positive plus/minus marks for the team in December.

The feel-good start to the season for the Colorado Avalanche is officially over. Colorado is 3-7-3 in its last 13 games, has lost five straight -- the last two in the first minute of overtime -- and can't seem to score more than two goals in a game.

The Avalanche are stumbling and frustrated heading into 2019.

"You know, it hasn't been good enough in overtime and it hasn't been good enough as of late," defenseman Erik Johnson told the media after Monday's 3-2 loss to the Los Angeles Kings. 'You've got to find a way to get two points and right now; it's unacceptable. We have to find a way to change it."

Colorado has to change things quickly. The San Jose Sharks are in town Wednesday night for the first meeting of the season between the teams. San Jose, which reached the Stanley Cup Final in 2016, has the look of a team ready to compete for the Western Conference title once again.

The Sharks (21-13-7, 49 points) are coming off an 8-5 loss at Calgary on Monday in a showdown of two of the top teams in the Pacific Division. San Jose lost a playoff-like game, but the players think it will make them better going forward.

"We'll take a little bit to think about it, I think," San Jose forward Evander Kane told the media after the game. "I think there's some things we can learn from, not just with the score or our play but as a team growing."

The Sharks have had an up-and-down season filled with long winning streaks and long losing streaks. A five-game winning streak in December was followed by a three-game slide, and Monday's win snapped a two-game win streak.

Lately the Avalanche have done nothing but lose. After a 9-0-2 stretch moved Colorado near the top of the Central Division, the Avs (19-13-8, 46 points) have gone cold. Since beating Dallas 6-4 on Dec. 15, they are 1-4-2 and have scored more than two goals only once.

Coach Jared Bednar has tried to spark the offense by changing his top lines. He moved forward Gabe Landeskog, tied for the team lead with 24 goals, to the second line but it hasn't made much of a difference.

Colorado's goaltending has been average through this stretch and its play after regulation has been bad. Against Chicago on Saturday, Landeskog drew a double-minor late in the third period and the Blackhawks scored 41 seconds into overtime to win.

Monday, the Kings scored 54 seconds into the extra period to beat the Avalanche. Colorado can take solace in the fact that it rallied in both games to force overtime, but leaving the extra point on the table may hurt down the road. The Avalanche are 1-8 in games decided after regulation.

"That can be the difference between getting into the playoffs and not getting into the playoffs," Bednar said after the Kings game. "They're big points. I give our team all the credit in the world for fighting back again tonight. It's not easy for us. It hasn't been an easy stretch for us to stay with it and come back from 0-2. It starts to show you a little bit about what we can do, but we have to find a way to close out the games."

Updated January 1, 2019

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