Slumping Sharks take on Avalanche

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Updated: February 26, 2013

The San Jose Sharks aim to avoid a third straight setback
on Tuesday night, when they return home to battle the Colorado Avalanche.

The Sharks won just once on a six-game road trip (1-4-1) and have gone 1-6-3
since setting a new franchise record by winning their first seven games of the
season.

A lack of offense has been a big part of the slump. San Jose has been held to
a pair of goals or fewer in nine of their 10 games this month, including
Saturday’s 3-1 setback to the hosting Dallas Stars.

Patrick Marleau scored the lone goal for San Jose, while Antti Niemi gave up
three goals on 28 shots faced.

“Pretty good effort, but you can’t take consolation in that,” San Jose coach
Todd McLellan said. “You can’t win games scoring one goal. We have to find
ways to fix it.”

The game could have gone a different way had the Sharks not had a potential
game-tying goal waived off near the 11-minute mark of the third due to
goaltender interference on Joe Thornton.

“I thought it was a forward attacking the net,” McLellan said. “I think that’s
a hockey play. He should have the right to make that play.”

The Sharks lost defenseman Brent Burns to an unknown injury in the first
period and also played without forward Ryane Clowe, who was suspended
indefinitely prior to his in-person hearing in New York on Monday. Clowe was
handed a two-game suspension late on Monday, so he’ll be eligible to return
after sitting out Tuesday’s contest.

Clowe left the bench at the end of Friday’s 2-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks
to start a skirmish as time expired. He was assessed a minor for roughing and
game misconduct.

The Sharks’ fast start to the season included a 4-0 win over the visiting
Avalanche on Jan. 26. Marleau scored twice and had an assist, while Thornton
added a goal and helper.

The win was San Jose’s third straight over Colorado and improved the club to
9-0-3 in the past 12 meetings.

The Sharks have also won nine straight at home over the Avalanche, who haven’t
won in San Jose since Feb. 6, 2008.

Semyon Varlamov was tagged for four goals on 26 shots for the Avalanche in the
earlier loss to the Sharks before Jean-Sebastien Giguere played the third
period and stopped all 17 shots he faced.

Giguere got the start in Colorado’s most recent outing, a 4-3 overtime setback
to the Anaheim Ducks. The Avs took a one-goal lead into the third, but managed
just two shots the rest of the way.

“We got a big point, but we have to have more of a killer instinct,” Giguere
said after giving up four goals on 39 shots. “I’m disappointed.”

John Mitchell, Cody McLeod and P.A. Parenteau all scored for the Avalanche,
who fell to 2-6-1 on the road this season. They wrap a three-game road trip on
Tuesday, return home for one game, then hit the road for another three in a
row beginning on March 3 in Columbus.