(SportsNetwork.com) - A pair of clubs with fading playoff chances square off in San Jose on Wednesday night when the Sharks try to extend their series home winning streak over the Colorado Avalanche.
The Sharks and Avalanche both have six games remaining in the regular season and large deficits to make up in the standings.
San Jose still has two avenues into the playoffs. It trails the third-place Calgary Flames by eight points in the Pacific Division and is seven back of the Winnipeg Jets for the second wild card spot. The Flames and Jets have five games remaining on their schedule.
Colorado, meanwhile, is last in the Central Division with 82 points, one fewer than San Jose.
The Sharks have won 12 straight at home versus the Avalanche since Colorado last won in San Jose on Feb. 6, 2008. They have taken 10 of the previous 14 meetings overall.
San Jose is set to play two straight and three of its next four at home after concluding a 3-3-1 road trip with Sunday's 3-2 setback to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Logan Couture and Ben Smith had regulation goals, but the Sharks failed to score during a lengthy 4-on-3 power play in overtime and then did not hit the back of the net in the shootout either.
"You've got to find a way to score," said Couture. "You have to. We knew the importance of that game."
Alex Stalock made 31 saves in the setback.
The Avalanche are coming off their own disappointing loss, losing for the second time in less than a week to the Edmonton Oilers with a 4-1 setback on Monday.
Ryan O'Reilly scored a goal to give him five tallies and eight assists over a career-high eight-game point streak. Semyon Varlamov made 32 saves for Colorado, which had won two straight after losing 4-3 at Edmonton last Wednesday.
"I'm going to push ... and I like to think the players will do the same," Avs coach Patrick Roy said.
Colorado opens a span of three straight on the road with tonight's game and is expected to start netminder Reto Berra. He is 0-1-1 in two prior meetings with the Sharks, allowing five goals on 40 shots.
With Antti Niemi still battling illness, Stalock is expected to get a third start in a row tonight. He is 1-2-0 with a 1.98 goals against average and .919 save percentage in three games (2 starts) versus the Avs.