San Jose (9-2-0) at Colorado (5-5-0), 8:00 pm EDT
DENVER (Ticker) — The transition from assistant to head coach
has been rather easy for Todd McLellan.
Behind their first-year leader, the San Jose Sharks hope to
extend their winning streak to four games when they visit the
Colorado Avalanche on Sunday.
San Jose has already enjoyed a four-game win streak this season.
The Sharks cruised to a 4-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks in
the regular-season opener and then swept a home-and-home series
from the Los Angeles Kings before beating the Columbus Blue
Jackets, 5-2, on October 14.
The Sharks’ last two contests have proved to be a potent
measuring stick and they walked away with four points. After
dismantling the Pittsburgh Penguins, 2-1, on Tuesday, they beat
the defending Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings, 4-2, on
San Jose hired McLellan – an assistant under Detroit’s Mike
Babcock the previous three seasons – in June to replace the
fired Ron Wilson, who is now coaching the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Colorado has dropped two straight, including a 4-2 loss to the
Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday. Andrew Raycroft turned aside
only 10 of the 14 shots he faced and fell victim to a three-goal
second period before being replaced by Peter Budaj.
Budaj, named the NHL’s No. 2 star for his play last week, is
expected to return as the team’s starter in this one. Notching
his fourth victory of the season won’t be easy, though, against
a team ranked first with 18 points in the Western Conference.
One advantage the Avalanche will have in this one is home ice,
since the Sharks are a perfect 6-0-0 at home and just 3-2-0 on
Colorado used 20 goals in five straight wins prior to its modest
losing skid, but posting any type of offense will be tough
against San Jose. The Sharks have allowed just 25 goals this
season – only the Minnesota Wild (22) and Montreal Canadiens
(24) have surrendered less this season.