Here’s a sentence nobody expected to be writing in April. The Colorado Avalanche are on the brink of a playoff spot.
The Avs currently have 93 points, one point ahead of St. Louis for the last wild-card spot in the Western Conference with two games – including their season finale against the Blues on Saturday – left to play.
A win over the Sharks on Thursday would be gigantic for Jared Bednar’s team, but San Jose isn’t going to be an easy hill to climb, as the Sharks still have a lot at stake. The Sharks are still scrapping with Los Angeles and Anaheim for home-ice advantage in the first round and will need a win – or an overtime/shootout loss – over the Avs to avoid falling into a third-place in the division if the Kings beat the visiting Wild Thursday night.
Fun times ahead.
Colorado Avalanche (+151) @ San Jose Sharks (-175) | O/U: 5.5
10:30 p.m. ET
Burn Baby, Bernier: The Avalanche will be without starting goaltender Semyon Varlamov for the rest of the season, meaning journeyman Jonathan Bernier – a 2006 first-round pick – will be handed the keys to the car.
In 35 games played this year Bernier has looked all right. The 29-year-old has a .929 even strength save percentage (23rd in the NHL among goalies with at least 400 minutes played), which is just a shade under his .934 expected save percentage. In terms of Goals Saved Above Average (the number of goals saved compared to a hypothetical league average goaltender, also known as GSAA) Bernier has been below average this year with a -4.16 GSAA at 5v5.