Sharks-Avalanche Preview

The San Jose Sharks continue to slump after their hot start, and while Pete DeBoer lamented his club’s five-on-five play after the latest setback, it’s special teams that continues to sink the Sharks.

Special teams have also been a point of weakness for the Colorado Avalanche.

Both will look to clean up those units Sunday at the Pepsi Center.

San Jose (5-5-0) has dropped five of six while surrendering 23 goals after allowing only two while winning their first four contests. They lost 5-3 at Dallas on Saturday, falling to former Sharks Antti Niemi and Jason Demers. Niemi made 26 saves while Demers had a goal and an assist.

All three San Jose goals came in the second period, with two on the power play and a short-handed goal by Matt Nieto.

"We have to be better 5-on-5," DeBoer said. "They had three 5-on-5 goals tonight, we didn’t have any. Our power play started to heat up, which is a good sign."

But even despite Saturday’s performance, the Sharks are still plus-three in terms of even-strength goal differential. Meanwhile, they’ve given up seven power-play goals on 24 chances over the last seven games, and had gone six consecutive games without a power-play goal of their own before Saturday.

The Avalanche (3-6-1) still haven’t won consecutive games, losing 3-2 at Carolina on Friday after Thursday’s 2-1 win at Tampa Bay snapped a four-game skid.

They allowed three straight goals to the Hurricanes after Alex Tanguay’s second-period goal opened the scoring.

"We just don’t score enough goals," coach Patrick Roy said.

Colorado has nine goals in dropping five of the last six. It scored 15 while splitting its first four games.

Special teams have gone south in a hurry for the Avalanche, who have allowed six power-play goals on 16 chances over the last four games. Meanwhile, they’re 0 for 14 on the advantage over the last three after starting the season 7 for 28.

"We’ve made some good strides," Nathan MacKinnon, who leads the team with 10 points, told its official website. "We’ve been playing really well 5-on-5. Obviously, we need to chip in on the special teams. Power play and PK need to be a little bit better, but it’s going to be a good test for us."

Colorado is 1-3-1 at home and hasn’t lost five of its first six there since 2011, while the Sharks are in danger of losing four straight on the road for the first time since Dec. 5-14, 2013.

Martin Jones is likely to be in net for San Jose after backup Alex Stalock got the nod Saturday. Jones only gave up two goals in his first four starts, but has given up 12 in his last four. He won both previous starts against the Avalanche in 2013-14.

The Sharks are seeking their fourth straight victory in the series after outscoring Colorado 13-4 over the last three.

Patrick Marleau, who hasn’t scored in six straight games after recording three goals in his first four, has six goals and five assists in his last nine matchups with the Avalanche.