San Jose Sharks defend the home ice in a crucial game 5 vs. the avalanche

With the series 2-2, the San Jose Sharks get a chance to regain control of Round 2 in the tank against a confident Colorado Avalanche club.

The San Jose Sharks were on their heels all night during Game 4. Colorado was able to rule the game at their pace and use home advantage to prioritize match-ups in their favor at zone starts.

If Team Teal is hoping for better results in Game 5, they must focus their defensive efforts on slowing MacKinnon and the like. That’s easier said than done, however, considering he’s been on the ice for over 63% of Colorado’s goals scored in that series.

This makes the San Jose Sharks’ inability to convert power play during this series much more frustrating. During this streak, Team Teal only converts at a rate of 10% (1/10). The Sharks will have to take advantage of these easy scoring opportunities if they are to survive this series.

Team Teal’s depth can make up for the Avalanche’s top-end talent at 5v5 in the long run. But if the Sharks don’t start producing with all that extra ice, their quest for the Stanley Cup will end in the second round for the second straight year

However, when you consider how many adversities they have already faced during these Stanley Cup playoffs. Expect Team Teal to react with great effort in the tank tonight. Both teams did a great job and made the right adjustments to respond to both teams’ firepower.

From what we gathered from morning skating, the San Jose Sharks won’t be the icing on the cake for Joe Pavelski again tonight. He is making progress every day and the training staff is confident that we will see the captain on the ice soon.

The Sharks will see Joonas Donskoi return to the line-up for Game 5. He hasn’t been around since Game 3 against Vegas and will be a nice addition to the worn-out Sharks roster.

The lineups appear to be the same for the Avalanche, but coach Pete DeBoer has signaled that the Sharks lineups are a game-time decision. However, here’s who can be expected on the ice for both clubs during Game 5.

San Jose Sharks Jose

Forward combinations

Timo Meier ~ Logan Couture ~ Gus Nyquist

Evander Kane ~ Tomas Hertl ~ Joonas Donskoi

Marcus Sorensen ~ Joe Thornton ~ Kevin Labanc

Micheal Haley ~ Barclay Goodrow ~ Melker Karlsson

Defensive pairings

Marc-Edouard Vlasic ~ Brent Burns

Brenden Dillon ~ Erik Karlsson

Joakim Ryan ~ Justin Brown

goalie

Scheduled starter ~ Martin Jones

Backup ~ Aaron Dell

Colorado avalanche

Forward combinations

Gabriel Landeskog ~ Nathan MacKinnon ~ Alexander Kerfoot

Mikko Rantanen ~ Carl Soderberg ~ Colin Wilson

Matt Calvert ~ JT Compher ~ Matt Nieto

Derick Brassard ~ Tyson Jost ~ Gabriel Bourque

Defensive pairings

Ian Cole ~ Erik Johnson

Nikita Zadorov ~ Tyson Barrie

Cale Makar ~ Samuel Girard

goalie

Planned starter ~ Philipp Grubauer

Backup ~ Semyon Varlamov

It would be an exaggeration to say that the fifth game tonight is a must for the San Jose Sharks. But bringing that streak back to Denver 3-2 would be a nightmare scenario. Despite Team Teals’ previous successes in playoffs in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, it wouldn’t be wise for this tired group to push their luck away from home.

The puck drop for today’s game at the SAP Center is at 7:00 p.m. PT. The game will be broadcast nationwide on NBCSN. The audio can be streamed through the NHL and Sharks apps courtesy of 98.5 KFOX.

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