The San Jose Sharks are set to host the Colorado Avalanche one last time this season in a Wednesday evening matchup.
The Avalanche (34-12-4, 72 points) have dominated the season series 6-1-0, including Monday night's come-from-behind 5-4 overtime victory.
The end result Monday puts Colorado right in the middle of a tight race for a playoff spot in the West Division. The Avalanche currently sit in second place, just two points behind the Vegas Golden Knights and two points ahead of the Minnesota Wild, and has a game in hand on each.
Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar told the media on Monday his team was keeping a close eye on things, especially when the Wild rallied to defeat the Golden Knights 6-5 during Colorado's matchup with the Sharks.
"(San Jose) knew how big of a game it was because we saw that Minnesota had come back to win in regulation," Bednar explained. "So we were fighting to stay ahead of them and also pull within two points of Vegas if we won. So, the guys were fired up to get out there for the third period and we believed we could get the job done."
In Monday's game, the Sharks (20-26-6, 46 points) mounted a huge offensive attack in the second period to take a convincing 3-1 lead. But Colorado pushed back in a big way in the third frame, outscoring San Jose 3-1. It looked like the Sharks might hold on to win the game 4-3 until Colorado's Nazem Kadri scored the game-tying goal with 3:39 left in regulation.
Andre Burakovsky buried the game-winning goal 41 seconds into OT.
"We want to be in first place," Burakovsky said postgame. "I think this was a must-win for us. We talked about it. We needed to come out harder, to leave everything we have on the ice. We just had to find a way to get this done, and we did. So, great job to everyone."
Monday's game also officially eliminated San Jose from playoff contention.
"It's tough to see the way that game ended," Sharks head coach Bob Boughner said. "I thought we should have been celebrating the two points tonight, for sure."
Boughner already tapped rookie netminder Josef Korenar to start Wednesday's game against Colorado after being critical of Martin Jones' performance (26 saves in 31 shots on goal) in net following Monday's loss. However, Boughner did recognize the effort that many of the Sharks are putting in despite the difficult loss.
"I thought we played a hard game tonight," he said on Monday. "We've got guys who are playing hard and no one's cashing in their ticket yet, or no one's taking the easy way out. I'm happy about that."
--Field Level Media