National Hockey League
Sharks-Avalanche Preview
National Hockey League

Sharks-Avalanche Preview

Updated Mar. 5, 2020 12:20 a.m. ET

Both the San Jose Sharks and Colorado Avalanche recently looked to the lowly Toronto Maple Leafs to help provide depth to their rosters.

While the visiting Sharks should have their two new additions available Wednesday night, the Avs might still be without their recent acquisition for the teams' final regular-season meeting.

Hours before San Jose (32-21-5) improved to 3-1-0 on a five-game trip with Monday's 6-3 win at St. Louis, it acquired veteran defenseman Roman Polak and forward Nick Spaling from Toronto for second-round picks in 2017 and 2018 and forward Raffi Torres. Third in the Pacific Division, the Sharks are one point behind Anaheim and very much in striking distance of first-place Los Angeles.

''We've put ourselves in a really good position and you make the determination on this team now with these added ingredients," San Jose general manager Doug Wilson said.


Polak remains a physical presence in his 10th season. He recorded one goal, 12 assists and was a career-high plus-8 in 55 games for the Maple Leafs.

On his fourth team in seven seasons, Spaling had only seven points in 35 games but should see plenty of time on the penalty kill.

"Roman and Nick are both quality, character players that will complement and enhance our current roster," Wilson said. "Our existing group of players has battled hard and they have earned the right to have every chance to succeed this season."

Joe Thornton, Logan Couture and Tomas Hertl each had two goals Monday as the Sharks improved to 5-1-1 in their last seven games and 21-9-2 on the road. San Jose went 0 for 7 on the power play in the first three games of the trip but scored twice on a two-man advantage in the first period at St. Louis.

Thornton, who also had two assists, has 10 goals and 29 assists in his last 29 games. Three of those assists came while San Jose split its two home meetings with Colorado (31-27-4).

The Sharks have scored at least four goals in four of six contests, and totaled 13 in winning two of three from the Avs in 2015-16.

Hoping to bolster its group of forwards, Colorado acquired ninth-year center Shawn Matthias from Toronto on Sunday for rookie Colin Smith and a fourth-round pick.

In his return from missing five games with whiplash, Matthias scored his sixth of the season for the Maple Leafs on Saturday. However, he might not have a U.S. visa in time to make his Avalanche debut. When Matthias is ready, coach Patrick Roy appears set to line him up along side Carl Soderberg and Blake Comeau.

"He's a big man and he's a good skater," Roy said of Matthias, who had a career-high 18 goals for Vancouver last season. "He's capable of playing on the penalty (kill). He's going to help."

The Avs recorded 38 shots but only Matt Duchene's 26th goal in the final minute of Sunday's 5-1 loss to the Canucks. They are 1 for 17 on the power play in the last five contests but 7 for 15 against the Sharks this season.

Three of Nathan MacKinnon's four goals in the last two games against San Jose came with the man-advantage. He registered a hat trick in the 6-3 victory over the Sharks on Dec. 28, but has gone five straight games without a point.

Couture has five goals and seven assists in 12 contests.


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