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PREVIEW: San Jose Sharks, Colorado Avalanche both trying to gain traction

Jan 24, 2021; Anaheim, California, USA;  Colorado Avalanche right wing Mikko Rantanen (96) is congratulated by defenseman Cale Makar (8) after scoring a goal in the third period of the game against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 24, 2021; Anaheim, California, USA; Colorado Avalanche right wing Mikko Rantanen (96) is congratulated by defenseman Cale Makar (8) after scoring a goal in the third period of the game against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Avalanche and San Jose Sharks have not been able to maintain momentum so far this season.

Both teams bring 3-3-0 records into Tuesday night’s opener of a two-game set in Denver.

Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar says the success will come.

Related: If you’re a fan of the Avalanche, check out #GoAvsGo rumors, rankings, and news here.

“We are a team that still needs to outwork our opponents, I felt like we still did that tonight,” Makar said Sunday after a 3-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks. “We just had no luck tonight whether it was goalposts or what-not. But I think as an overall effort as a team, I think we are happy but obviously it’s a loss. We don’t want to lose, but we are going to come back stronger and it’s just a building block for this team.”

The Avalanche dictated a lot of the play, outshooting the Ducks 33-15. They were shut out by Ducks goalie John Gibson until 14:46 of the third period when Mikko Rantanen scored.

Colorado failed to convert on four power-play opportunities.

“I think we are still creating chances and it’s just going to be getting more guys going to the net, willing to just get in those gritty areas and put it in,” Makar said. “We need those lucky bounces in front, and unfortunately we just haven’t got those just because we haven’t had too many guys around the paint.”

Avs coach Jared Bednar said the team needs to keep doing what it’s doing, especially when it runs into a hot goaltender like Gibson.

“Tonight, I loved our work ethic,” Bednar said. “I thought we competed in all areas of the game, and we were creating some real good offensive-zone time. One thing we talked about as the game went on was just doing a better job at getting in front of Gibson because it seemed like we were creating some really good chances, but he was seeing all of them. He had a really good night, sometimes you run into that.”

Rantanen’s goal extended his five-game scoring streak.

“I would rather us play hard and leave it all out there and then come up a little bit short than kind of do what we’ve been doing in a couple other games,” Bednar said. “I thought (it was a) real good effort by our guys, real good response.”

Related: If you’re a fan of the Sharks, check out #SharksTerritory rumors, rankings, and news here.

The Sharks are coming off a 5-3 win Sunday over the host Minnesota Wild. Brent Burns scored the go-ahead goal with just 1:38 left in the third and Matt Nieto added an empty-netter.

“It starts with Tomas Hertl with a great draw,” Burns said of his goal. “He wins it. These guys have blocked so many shots, and it was another one that they blocked. Luckily it kind of stayed there, and I don’t know what happened after that. I kind of blacked out, I think.”

Ryan Donato, Evander Kane and Noah Gregor also scored for the Sharks, while Martin Jones made 26 saves.

“(Jones) was huge for us again tonight, made some huge saves for us at key times,” Burns said. “It’s a big win. I talked about it before, I felt like that was probably our best game by far that we played so far. Most complete, we competed and played hard.”

–Field Level Media