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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Monday, December 23rd (All times Eastern)

Colorado Avalanche (23-10-2) at San Jose Sharks (22-8-6), 10:30 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The San Jose Sharks aim to post their first winning streak in three weeks on Monday night as they welcome the Colorado Avalanche to town.

The Sharks had lost six of their previous eight before coming back to win a 3-2 shootout decision over the Dallas Stars. Joe Thornton had the lone goal of the tiebreaker in the fifth round and backup goaltender Alex Stalock did his part after making a career-high 44 saves through overtime.

Stalock was making his first appearance in a game since Dec. 6 as he gave No. 1 netminder Antti Niemi a rare breather. Stalock is 4-1-0 with a 2.02 goals against average and .936 save percentage in seven games this season, including five starts.

"I think any goalie will tell you that with more shots it's a little easier to get more comfortable in the nets," Stalock told NHL.com. "You don't have to really think about what's coming next. This way it's back and forth. Their guy is getting tested and then they're coming down to our end. It's a little easier to get into it."

San Jose trailed 2-0 early in the second period, but got a goal apiece from Jason Demers (second period) and Joe Pavelski (third period) to tie the contest.

The Sharks next look to post back-to-back victories for the first time since a six-game tear from Nov. 21-Dec. 3. They will do so without rookie forward Tomas Hertl, who did not play on Saturday and is expected to miss at least a month with a knee injury suffered on Thursday versus Los Angeles.

Hertl has 15 goals and 25 points in 35 games this season.

The Avalanche also rallied to get to a shootout on Saturday, but ended up losing a 3-2 decision to the Kings.

Los Angeles' Anze Kopitar had the lone shootout tally as Colorado's Matt Duchene, PA Parenteau and Ryan O'Reilly all came up empty on their chances.

Semyon Varlamov made 37 saves to keep Colorado in the game. Erik Johnson scored a power-play tally with 5:58 to go in the second period and O'Reilly added a goal on the man advantage with 9:33 left in the third period to erase a 2-0 deficit.

"I thought we showed a lot of character, being down 2-0. We had a big break on that power play and you see how important it is to score on a power play," noted Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy. "I thought it was a big point for us, no doubt about it."

Colorado is 3-1-2 in its last six games.

Duchene assisted on both goals and has logged four goals and 12 points over his last six games.

The Sharks are 10-0-4 in their last 14 versus the Avalanche since their last regulation defeat in this series on Oct. 1, 2009 in Colorado.

The Avs have lost 10 straight in San Jose, where they have not won since Feb. 6, 2008.

12/23 11:00:39 ET

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7:05pm Tonight
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