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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, April 11th (All times Eastern)

Colorado Avalanche (52-21-7) at San Jose Sharks (49-22-9), 10 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Colorado Avalanche will attempt to stay in the driver's seat in the race for the Central Division crown as they visit the San Jose Sharks on Friday night.

The Avalanche are in the midst of a well-timed nine-game point streak, going 8-0-1 in that span. Thursday's 4-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks, coupled with St. Louis' setback to the Minnesota Wild, moved Colorado into a tie with the Blues for first place in the division.

Though both teams have 111 points, the Avs own the tiebreaker with four more non-shootout victories and the two clubs each have two games left to play. The Blues are set to visit the Dallas Stars on Friday night.

Colorado is also just a point back of the idle Anaheim Ducks for the top seed in the Western Conference. The Avs end their regular season with a road test versus the Ducks on Sunday.

"Our fate is in our hands here," Colorado's John Mitchell said. "We need to have two big games and that will seal it for us."

Semyon Varlamov made 38 saves in last night's win, giving him 41 victories on the season. That broke current head coach Patrick Roy's previous single-season franchise mark set in 2000-01.

Colorado's 52 victories also tied the 2000-01 Stanley Cup-winning club for the most in franchise history.

Paul Stastny scored twice and Mitchell had a goal versus the Canucks.

Colorado is expected to have forward P.A. Parenteau back in the lineup tonight. He has not played since March 10 because of a knee injury.

The Avs are 2-0-1 versus the Sharks this season, taking two victories at home following a 5-4 shootout loss in San Jose back on Dec. 23. That setback was Colorado's 11th in a row in San Jose, however.

Colorado has not won on the road in this series since Feb. 6, 2008 and tonight visits a Sharks club that has lost two straight and six of its last nine games.

San Jose was last in action on Wednesday when it lost a 5-2 decision to Anaheim. That gave the Ducks the Pacific Division title and locked the Sharks into a first-round meeting with the third-place Los Angeles Kings.

Jason Demers and Logan Couture provided offense for the Sharks, who will have home-ice advantage in that set. Antti Niemi took the loss, allowing three goals on 19 shots in almost 30 minutes of action. Alex Stalock finished with nine saves.

"We played a heck of a game," San Jose's Joe Thornton said. "We were in their end for the majority of the night. A couple of soft goals, we lose the game. That's all."

The Sharks, who conclude their regular season on Saturday at Phoenix, may have forward Tomas Hertl back in action by the time the postseason begins. The rookie has not played since suffering a knee injury back on Dec. 19.

04/11 10:48:21 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
CHA 102
DET 78
 
Final
PHI 9
ATL 2
Final
MIN 4
BOS 4
Final
HOU 3
DET 2
Final
NYY 0
TAM 3
Final
BOS 7
TOR 9
Final
MIA 8
WAS 0
Final
NYM 4
STL 5
Final
OAK 4
ANA 1
Final
KAN 4
LOS 4
Final
CIN 0
ARI 3
Final
SEA 4
CWS 12
Final
SFG 5
CLE 2
Final
CHC 11
MIL 7
Final
CWS 2
SDP 8
Final
COL 10
TEX 4
8th
BAL 3
PIT 3
 
Final
CHA 102
DET 78
 
Final
WAS 106
PHI 93
 
Final
ORL 91
SAN 103
 
4th
NYK 78
BRK 87
 
4th
BOS 83
IND 74
 
3rd
MIL 51
CHI 48
 
3rd
OKC 63
DAL 66
 
3rd
HOU 65
SAC 63
 
3rd
MIN 50
TOR 71
 
1st
UTA 14
DEN 14
 
10:00pm Tonight
POR
LAC
10:30pm Tonight
LAL
NOP
2nd
LAMON 49
LOYC 45
 
2nd Intermission
BUF 2
TOR 3
 
2nd
PIT 1
PHI 1
 
10:00pm Tonight
ANA
EDM
10:30pm Tonight
SJS
COL