Tonight will mark the return to San Jose for left winger Jamie McGinn. McGinn is a former second-round draft choice of the Sharks and played parts of his first four NHL seasons in northern California.
He has unquestionably been the prize thus far of the trade that sent him, along with two prospects (Mike Connolly and Michael Sgarbossa), to Colorado in exchange for forwards Daniel Winnik and T.J. Galiardi.
McGinn has recorded eight goals and four assists for a total of 12 points in 13 games with the Avalanche, including some very clutch points, most notably, the game-tying goal in Buffalo with just 0.7 seconds left in regulation.
Daniel Winnik recorded only one assist in his first 12 Sharks games but has come on a bit offensively, scoring goals in each of his last two games. T.J. Galiardi has yet to register a point as a Shark and has been a healthy scratch on several occasions. He has also most recently missed action due to a back injury. He will not be in the Sharks' lineup tonight.
The Avs will get a boost on the blueline from the return of Erik Johnson, the Avs' best defenseman who has missed the past three games with a balky back. Rookie Tyson Barrie filled in for Johnson well but had a very costly turnover in overtime against Vancouver on Saturday night. Barrie will be a healthy scratch tonight along with fellow rookie defenseman Stefan Elliott and forwards Peter Mueller and Kevin Porter.
Semyon Varlamov will start his fifth consecutive game and will need to provide playoff-caliber goaltending in a very important game for the Avs. Varly will be opposed by Antti Niemi in a game with great importance for the Sharks as well. Both teams currently have 86 points, but the Sharks still have two games in hand.