Sharks-Avalanche Preview

It is not a surprise that the San Jose Sharks finished atop the Western Conference (yet again), but it is a surprise that the Colorado
Avalanche
made the postseason. This youth-infused Avalanche team was
predicted to finish at the bottom of the conference, and to have better luck
next year.

The Avs are coming off one of the best turn-around seasons
in the Western Conference. Since the 2000-01 season — a season that saw
Colorado win their second Stanley Cup — the Avs are the first team to finish
last in the conference, and then make it to the playoffs the following year.

A lot of their success can be attributed to the strong play
of their rookies, including Calder Trophy candidate Matt Duchene, Ryan
O’Reilly and T.J. Galiardi. In addition, the acquisition of goalie Craig
Anderson has been key to the turn-around in Colorado. Anderson has been the backbone
for the Avs, and will have to continue with his strong play if the Avs look to
continue further into the playoffs.

On the other side of the ice, San Jose is looking to finally
make a run to the Stanley Cup Finals. With early exits in previous
post-seasons, the Sharks are hoping that new-comer Dany Heatley will be able to
help the Sharks get to the Finals. Along with Heatley, the Sharks are hoping
that Veterans Rob Blake, Joe Thornton, Evgeni Nabokov and Patrick Marleau will
be to lead team to their ultimate goal.

Undoubtedly, the Avs are the underdog going into the matchup
between the two teams, with many concerns. The biggest concern is if the Avs
have overplayed Anderson during the regular season, and if he will be able to
perform. The Avs also have many rookies on the team with no playoff
experience.

Despite who wins, this should be a very entertaining series
to watch. With both teams using their speed and skill, it should be a high
scoring affair.

Although the Avs are a youthful squad, they should give the
Sharks a run for the money. But in the end, the lack of experience will be
the Avs’ downfall.

[Prediction: Sharks in Six]

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