SAN JOSE Its reunion night at HP Pavilion.
For the first time since a trade on Feb. 27 that sent Jamie McGinn to Colorado and brought Daniel Winnik and TJ Galiardi to San Jose, the Avalanche and Sharks will meet in what is just the latest key matchup between Western Conference bubble teams on Monday night.
Winnik played it down on Sunday after the Sharks optional skate.
Im sure Ill be excited near the game, but right now its just kind of like any other game, he said.
Winnik is playing some of his most effective hockey of the season, on a line with Tommy Wingels and Andrew Desjardins, and has a goal in each of his last two games. In fact, that threesome may have been San Joses most effective line of the night in the 4-3 shootout win over Phoenix on Saturday.
I believe were starting to see some real good signs from Daniel Winnik, scoring two great big goals for our organization the last two nights, Todd McLellan said. We talked a lot about the effect that line has had, and how its played, and hes a big part of that. I see him being able to use his size and strength along the boards.
Hes not a 25-goal scorer. Were well aware of that and he knows that, too. But, the goals he does score are big goals.
McGinn, on the other hand, could end up being a 25-goal scorer. He already has eight goals and four assists in 13 games with Colorado, and has reached the 20-goal plateau for the first time in his brief career, leading many to assume that the Avalanche got the better of the deal.
Winnik, who went 43 straight games without a goal before his recent streak, is aware of McGinns success. But, he doesnt let that get in his head.
Just watching them seeing how theyre doing, obviously hes been hot for them since hes been there. Its good for him. Im happy for him, Winnik said. Its a great organization, and the way head coach Joe Sacco plays guys like Jamie, hes gotten a lot of opportunity.
As for all the goals McGinn is scoring?
I cant control that, Winnik said. I dont really think about it. Im not going jeez, hes got that many goals. You cant think like that.
Logan Couture has been a friend of McGinn since they were teenagers, and had plans to meet up with him on Sunday night.
Im happy for him. Hes one of my better friends. Its good to see him be successful, obviously. Were battling those guys to get in the playoffs, so it is a little tough to see him do well, but Im still really happy for him, Couture said.
Still, he likes what he sees from the Sharks latest additions.
Winnik is really starting to play well right now, Couture said. He was learning the system and learning how to play. Hes done a great job lately obviously, scoring a couple goals, being physical, holding onto pucks. TJ has been hurt lately but hes a quick player. Hes like a little rat out there. Theyre a good addition for us.
Galiardi wont get a chance to face his former team, as hes still out with an upper body injury.
As for McGinn, who is playing on a line with Paul Stastny and David Jones, he told the Denver Post:
"I've felt pretty comfortable here from Day One. It'll be different (tonight) against them I'm sure. I'll probably most feel it when we get to the rink. They've got a lot of talented players and we need to make sure we bring our best effort against them."
Blues help Sharks: The St. Louis Blues did the Sharks a huge favor on Sunday night with a 4-0 win over the Phoenix Coyotes. The Sharks (38-27-10, 86 points) trail Phoenix by one point, but have two games in hand. San Jose could move back into the top eight with a win over the Avalanche, and could conceivably re-take the Pacific Division lead by the time Monday night is over. In other games to watch, Dallas visits Calgary while Vancouver hosts Los Angeles.
The Coyotes are off until they host San Jose on Thursday. The Sharks visit Anaheim on Wednesday.
According to the latest math on sportsclubstats.com, the Sharks have a 63.4 percent chance of making it to the postseason.