The San Jose Sharks hope to salvage at least one win from their four-game homestand when they face the Colorado Avalanche, one of the worst road teams in the NHL.
The Sharks (11-8-4) opened the homestand with a 2-1 shootout loss to Anaheim on Nov. 17 before losing consecutive games to Los Angeles, including a 3-2 shootout defeat Wednesday. The three-game slide follows a season-high four-game winning streak and has dropped San Jose four points behind first-place Dallas in the Pacific Division.
The Sharks have not lost four consecutive home games since Feb. 6-March 9.
"I want to see some more players upset with what our record is and what their numbers are," Sharks coach Ron Wilson said. "They should be angry about it."
Wilson's club now opens a stretch of six games in 10 days after only playing twice in the last six.
"I think we're really looking forward to (playing more)," said Sharks defenseman Craig Rivet, who scored his first goal of the season Wednesday. "Sometimes being tired is better than being rested. We're built somewhat like machines that way. We're going to be looking forward to getting some of the cobwebs out and really getting on a roll here."
Joe Thornton had a goal and an assist Wednesday to avoid going three straight games without a point for the first time this season. The All-Star center also scored for the first time in five games. The Sharks have lost six of seven games this season when Thornton has not registered a point.
One of those games came in the only meeting this season with the Avalanche, and San Jose lost 6-2 in Colorado on Oct. 7. Thornton, though, has 10 goals and 13 assists in 18 career games against the Avalanche (13-9-1).
Colorado had gone unbeaten in nine straight trips to San Jose before losing three of its last four games there, and enters this matchup with one of the league's worst road records at 3-7-1. The Avalanche had lost four straight road games before winning their most recent one, 3-2 at Edmonton on Nov. 22.
The Avs followed that win by losing 5-2 to Calgary on Saturday before beating Edmonton 4-2 four days later. That victory saw Milan Hejduk register a goal and two assists to help give Colorado a four-goal lead midway through the second period.
"We scored some goals early and pretty much had control of the whole game," said Hejduk, who had two goals and an assist in the last meeting with the Sharks. "We worked harder than in the previous games, and we pressed the puck hard in their zone."
Joe Sakic had two points Wednesday after getting none in the previous four games. The Avalanche captain scored for the second straight game after going 11 straight without a goal.
Sakic had two points in the Oct. 7 meeting with San Jose to give him 18 in the last 10 matchups. He has 28 goals and 72 points in 50 career games against the Sharks.
These teams also meet Monday in Denver.
Colorado has recalled T.J. Hensick from its AHL affiliate and he is expected to make his NHL debut Friday. The 21-year-old center leads Lake Erie in scoring with 13 points in 18 games.
A third-round draft pick in 2005, Hensick scored 69 points in 41 games as a senior at Michigan last season, winning the Central Collegiate Hockey Association scoring title and being named a Hobey Baker Award finalist.
Word is joe sakic strained his groin on Wednesday against the Oilers (He's expected to play tonight and that's why T.J. Hensick was called up just keep an eye on joes minutes and which lines hensick plays on, more good news svatos is out with a strained groin. The avs also sent brad richards back to Lake Erie why? i don't have a clue (ask Q) so wyatt smith should continue to be beaten on a regular basis. Heres some good news really (peter budaj) will start!
for the 2nd time in a row (that's very) un Q like maybe hes getting a clue finally.