Avalanche forward Milan Hejduk celebrates his goal with Paul Stastny and David Jones during their NHL hockey game in Toronto

When will Colorado win a game at home?

The Colorado Avalanche have one primary goal heading into tonight’s game against Los Angeles a the Pepsi Center.

Get a win on home ice.

Heading into Sunday action, the Avs were the only team in the NHL without a single home point and one of just two without a home win. (The other, New York, has only played two home dates thanks to opening in Europe and renovations to MSG.)

Explaining Colorado’s home struggles is no easy task.

On the road, Colorado has had no problem scoring goals — 27 in seven games, an average of 3.86 goals per game. Yet that same production has disappeared within the confines of the Pepsi Center, as the Avs have been shutout by Detroit and lost 3-1 to both Chicago and Edmonton with the lone goals coming from the Rine-O brothers, Ryan O’Byrne and Ryan O’Reilly.

So, what gives?

“They made some boneheaded turnovers, they only played with any real desperation at the end, took some dumb penalties and essentially played a leadership-free game,” wrote the Denver Post’s Adrian Dater following Friday’s 3-1 loss to Edmonton. “Sound familiar? It certainly should at home, where every game for the last calendar year has seemed exactly the same. Not just on the ice, but the in the arena itself, where the Avs’ game-night entertainment staff gives renewed meaning to the word ‘stale’ every single time.”

The ‘every game for the last calendar year’ bit is especially telling. Dating back to last season the Avs are 1-7 in their last eight at home, a place where — traditionally — the club has been dominant (insert theories about Mile High air here.) While it’s still early in the year, the lack of success at Pepsi is starting to show amongst Avalanche players. “That’s three games lost at home right now. This should be our barn,” O’Reilly said after Friday’s loss. “We should be used to the air and we should be in better shape than most teams, and that’s killing us right now.”

Colorado has a chance to get its first home win tonight against Los Angeles, but it won’t be easy. The Kings have yet to lose a road game in regulation this season and their top two centers, Anze Kopitar and Mike Richards, are on fire. Kopi tallied his fifth goal of the season on Saturday night and has 13 points in 10 games, while Richards is averaging a point per game (2 goals, 8 assists).

Update: Avs won.

Stanley Cup Final referees: McCauley, O’Halloran, O’Rourke, Sutherland

BUFFALO, NY - DECEMBER 13:  Referee Dan O'Halloran #13 holds up a face-off between the Buffalo Sabres and the Ottawa Senators during their NHL game at First Niagara Center on December 13, 2011 in Buffalo, New York.  (Photo by Dave Sandford Getty Images)
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From the NHL:

refs

Pretty veteran crew, including three returnees from last year’s final.

Per the NHL, O’Halloran and O’Rourke will call tonight’s series opener from Consol.

After advancing to Cup final, DeBoer had Sharks fans coming up to him with ‘tears in their eyes’

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 29: Head coach Peter DeBoer addresses the media during the NHL Stanley Cup Final Media Day at Consol Energy Center on May 29, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
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PITTSBURGH — When Pete DeBoer was hired to coach the San Jose Sharks, he wasn’t totally cognizant of how much heartbreak the fan base had experienced throughout the years.

Now he knows.

“First year in the community, I didn’t realize kind of the baggage that was carried around,” DeBoer said this morning ahead of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. “Twenty-five-year season-ticket holders coming up to you with tears in their eyes and crying.”

The Sharks, of course, have never been this far in the playoffs. Prior to this year, they’d made it three times to the Western Conference Final, losing each time.

More painful were the first-round exits. Like in 2009 when they won the Presidents’ Trophy and got knocked out by the Ducks, and two years ago when they led the Kings 3-0 before dropping four straight.

It was only after the Sharks beat the Blues that DeBoer fully realized the “gravity of what they’ve been through” as fans in San Jose, and “how important this is to them.”

Not that he’s satisfied with getting this far.

“The business at hand now is to get off on the right foot, plant the right seeds for this series, impose our game,” he said. “Every series is the same — it’s whatever team can impose their game on the other team the quickest and for the longest. That’s our goal here tonight.”

Related: For Pete DeBoer, San Jose was the perfect landing spot

Kopitar will play for Slovenia in Olympic qualifiers

SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 13: Anze Kopitar #11 of Slovenia skates against Russia during the Men's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round Group A game on day six of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Bolshoy Ice Dome on February 13, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar will spend part of his offseason trying to help Slovenia qualify for the Olympics.

RTV Slovenia has the story here.

The qualification games will be played September 1-4 in Minsk. Slovenia is in a group with Belarus, Denmark and Poland. The winner of the group will qualify for the Olympics.

The NHL reportedly has no issue with Kopitar’s participation, even though the league has yet to commit to sending its players to Pyeongchang.

Slovenia made its Olympic debut in ice hockey at the 2014 Games in Sochi.

Kopitar will also represent Team Europe at the 2016 World Cup later in September.

Related: Slovenia beats Slovakia for historic win

Zubrus in, Nieto likely out for Sharks in Stanley Cup Final opener

ST LOUIS, MO - MAY 15:  Dainius Zubrus #9 of the San Jose Sharks skates against Alexander Steen #20 of the St. Louis Blues in Game One of the Western Conference Final during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scottrade Center on May 15, 2016 in St Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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PITTSBURGH — Matt Nieto is healthy, and ready to go.

But it doesn’t look like he’ll go tonight.

The San Jose Sharks are unlikely to make any lineup changes for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final in Pittsburgh — at Monday’s optional morning skate, Nieto stayed out late with the extras while the guy he’d (presumably) replace in the lineup, Dainius Zubrus, told NHL.com he was in.

Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer wouldn’t reveal any lineup decisions during his morning media availability, instead talking up both Nieto (for his speed) and Zubrus (for his “heavy” game), adding he liked the versatility the two give the club on a night-by-night basis.

Nieto suffered an upper-body injury in Game 6 of the Nashville series, and missed all of the Western Conference Final.

Prior to getting hurt, he had three points in 11 games — this after a regular season in which he scored eight goals and 17 points in 67 games.