Avalanche-Sharks Preview

Coach Todd McLellan says his offensively challenged San Jose

Sharks need to start picking up points quickly if they plan on

making their way up the standings in this lockout-shortened

season.

That hasn’t been much of an issue when facing the Colorado

Avalanche recently.

San Jose looks to earn at least one point for the 13th

consecutive regular-season meeting when it hosts Colorado on

Tuesday night.

With their 7-0-0 start seemingly a distant memory, the Sharks’

once-potent offense has scored more than two goals only once while

going 1-6-3 since – including Saturday’s 3-1 loss at Dallas to

close out a 1-4-1 road trip.

San Jose (8-6-3) outscored opponents 27-12 during the winning

streak, but it’s been outscored 25-12 over the last 10. Patrick

Marleau, who had the team’s lone goal in Friday’s 2-1 loss at

Chicago, scored for the second straight game.

“You have to put points in the bank, and we’re not doing it

right now,” McLellan said. “You can’t win games scoring one

goal.”

The Sharks are a dismal 3 for 46 on the power play over their

last 10 games – a far cry from the 12-for-32 clip over their first

five.

“They biggest difference is the power play (isn’t) clicking,”

McLellan said. “We played a very fast game in the first six or

seven games. We should be quick enough with the people we have and

the way we play.”

One of the more disappointing aspects of the slump, McLellan

said, is that San Jose has been playing solid defensively. It has

allowed three goals or fewer six times over the last nine.

Antti Niemi is 1-4-3 during the skid despite a 1.96

goals-against average in that stretch.

“This team needs to find ways to win. Scoring is part of it,”

McLellan said. “I put up some numbers and asked our team, ‘Can we

win like that?’ And one player astutely picked up that those were

number of goals we were giving up. So yes, we can win playing well

defensively, but we’ve got to find ways to score goals.”

The Sharks, though, will be without Ryan Clowe as he serves the

last of a two-game suspension, and McLellan still is considering

who will replace Clowe on a line centered by Logan Couture.

“We’re struggling scoring goals right now, and (Clowe’s

suspension) means someone else gets to play with (Couture) and

that’s not a bad option,” McClellan said. “We can rally around

Clowe’s absence and everyone pull their socks up and contribute a

little bit more.”

San Jose has won 10 of the last 12 meetings with Colorado,

including postseason. Marleau scored twice as the Sharks improved

to 9-0-3 in the last 12 regular-season contests against the

Avalanche with a 4-0 win Jan. 26.

Colorado (7-8-2) has lost two straight after a 4-3 overtime loss

to Anaheim on Sunday despite leading 2-0 after the first

period.

“Right now our focus is trying to gain points,” coach Joe Sacco

said. “Unfortunately we fell short on picking up the second

one.”

P.A. Parenteau ended a seven-game goal-scoring drought for the

Avalanche, who have allowed at least four goals in four of their

last five games.

Semyon Varlamov beat St. Louis 1-0 in the other contest

Wednesday, and he could be back in net after Jean-Sebastien Giguere

made 35 saves Sunday.

Varlamov, though, has a 4.92 GAA while dropping his last three

starts versus San Jose.