In her preview of the contest between the visiting Colorado Avalanche and the host San Jose Sharks Tuesday, Feb. 26 at 7:30 p.m. PST, NHL.com staff writer Deborah Francisco's "big story" is that both teams are desperate for a win. But the reality is the home team is far more desperate.
Colorado is 4-4-2 this month and 3-2-1 in their last six games. San Jose is 1-6-3 in February coming off a 1-4-1 road trip. Both teams have played 17 games overall in the 2013 NHL season, with the Sharks (8-6-3) having a 19-16 edge in standings points over the Avalanche (7-8-2).
Expectations are also higher for San Jose, which won 4-0 in the first meeting during their seven-game winning streak to start the season. The game featured a devastating hit by Brad Stuart on Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog, who has now returned to the lineup.
The Sharks will be without Ryane Clowe (suspension) and Brent Burns (now on injured reserve with what appears to be a leg problem). According to CSN Bay Area's Kevin Kurz via Twitter Tuesday, they have called up Matt Irwin to provide insurance on the blue line. Both Tommy Wingels and Martin Havlat also missed Monday's practice with "maintenance days."
David Pollack of the San Jose Mercury News said via Twitter that Havlat was skating with the team but Wingels was not. Judging by who skated with whom Tuesday morning, the scoring lines are intact from Saturday, Tim Kennedy will join the third line and T.J. Galiardi the fourth.
If Havlat is able to go, the Avalanche are missing more from a less-talented roster. Ryan O'Reilly is still not in camp, while Erik Johnson (head) and Ryan Wilson (leg) are still injured. The San Jose advantage is apparent in a look at the raw numbers for the entire season.