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Old 12-03-2007, 05:55 PM   #95
Bronx33
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Default Sharks-Avalanche Dec 3, 2007, 9:00 PM EST



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The Colorado Avalanche managed to gut out a win without their captain over the weekend, but they'd no doubt feel a lot better with him on the ice on Monday.

The Avalanche could be without Joe Sakic again when they host the San Jose Sharks.

Sakic sat out Saturday's 5-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings because of a sore groin, ending his regular-season streak of 232 consecutive games played. Sakic played in the final 44 games of the 2003-04 season, all 82 in each of the last two seasons, then the first 24 this season.

Coach Joel Quenneville was not sure how much time Sakic, who ranks second on the team with 15 assists and 22 points, would miss.

"It's tough to say," Quenneville said. "I don't even want to speculate if Monday's an option right now. Joe knows his body pretty well, but we want him to wait as long as it takes until he's back 100 percent. It's nothing we want to fool around with for an extended period of time."

The Avalanche (14-10-1) would no doubt like to have Sakic back against San Jose (12-8-4). Sakic has a point in each of his last 11 games against the Sharks, picking up seven goals and 12 assists in those contests.

He had one assist in Colorado's 3-2 loss at San Jose Sharks on Friday. Joe Thornton scored two goals and added an assist for the victorious Sharks.

Colorado bounced back the following day for its third win in five games. Ryan Smyth broke open a tie game with a pair of third-period goals and 21-year-old rookie T.J. Hensick scored his first NHL goal in his second game.

Smyth broke out of a slump during which he'd scored just one goal in his previous 13 games.

"I got my opportunities and took full advantage of it," he said. "I've been talking about trying to get to the net a little bit more, and it was just a matter of going out and doing it."

Paul Stastny added a goal and an assist.

The Avalanche, who are tied for second in the league with 10 home wins, need two more wins overall to reach 1,000 as a franchise.

Friday's victory was the first in four games for the Sharks, who snapped their longest losing streak of the season thanks largely to Thornton's effort.

"I don't think you can just look at tonight, Joe's been the guy all year," said defenseman Craig Rivet. "Joe along with (goaltender Evgeni Nabokov) has given us a chance to win each and every night."

Thornton's big game came on the two-year anniversary of his arrival from Boston via trade. He has three goals and two assists in his last two games overall, and has produced multi-point efforts in five of his last six games versus the Avalanche.
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