Wednesday Night Hockey: Avs look to snap ‘unacceptable’ skid vs Sharks

NBCSN’s coverage of the 2018-19 NHL season continues with the Wednesday Night Hockey matchup between the San Jose Sharks and Colorado Avalanche. Coverage begins at 9:30 p.m. ET. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.

The Avalanche have split up their top line of Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen, but that hasn’t helped them much of late. Unfortunately for the Avs, splitting those three players hasn’t prevented them from going on a five-game losing skid. One of the things that jumps off the page regarding this skid, is that four of the five losses have come against teams that aren’t anywhere near a playoff spot (Chicago (twice), Arizona and Los Angeles).

“You know, it hasn’t been good enough in overtime and it hasn’t been good enough as of late,” Avs defender Erik Johnson said. “You’ve got to find a way to get two points and right now; it’s unacceptable. We have to find a way to change it.”

The good news for Colorado, is that they’ve managed to hang on to a playoff spot despite their poor play. Heading into tonight’s game, the Avs find themselves in third place in the Central Division. They’re still just four points behind Nashville, who is in second place, and six points behind Winnipeg, who is in top spot.

MacKinnon, Landeskog and Rantanen have combined to score 11 points in five games, which is far from terrible, but it’s clear that this team needs more from them if they’re going to compete. Of course, getting some more help from the supporting cast would help, too. Maybe head coach Jared Bednar will opt to put them back together, again, soon.

[WATCH LIVE – COVERAGE BEGINS 9:30 P.M. ET – NBCSN]

Like the Avs, the Sharks also find themselves in third place in their division. San Jose three points behind Calgary and Vegas, who are currently first and second in the Pacific.

San Jose finished 2018 on an ugly note, as they dropped an 8-5 decision to the Flames on New Year’s Eve, but they had a pretty strong month of December, overall. The Sharks managed to pick up an impressive 20 points throughout the month. Only the Lightning (27), Penguins (23), Jets (22) and Golden Knights (21) had more points in December than San Jose.

Brent Burns, who finished Monday’s game with a goal, an assist and a minus-4 rating, currently leads the Sharks in points, with 40 in 41 games.

Fellow defender Erik Karlsson got off to a slow start this season, but he’s quietly getting himself back on track. The 28-year-old has six points in his two games since serving his two-game suspension. Karlsson has picked up at least one point in each of his last 10 games. He’s up to three goals and 32 points in 39 games with his new team. Whether or not Karlsson is one-and-done in San Jose remains to be seen, but that’s a story for another day.

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.

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