The player they picked up, Steve Konowalchuk, has been everything they could have hoped for.
The Avalanche look to push their unbeaten streak to five games and move closer to the top spot in the Northwest Division when they take on the San Jose Sharks at HP Pavilion.
Acquired from Washington on Oct. 23, Konowalchuk scored the tying and winning goals Sunday night as the Avalanche rallied for a 4-3 overtime win over Chicago.
Konowalchuk has four goals and an assist in his last three games. In his first six contests with the Avalanche, he had just one goal.
“The guys here made it so easy for me,” said Konowalchuk, who turns 31 on Tuesday. “After a couple of days, I felt like part of the team.”
Konowalchuk’s first goal Sunday night came at 11:16 of the third period, after Alex Tanguay scored 2:22 earlier to cut the deficit to one. Konowalchuk’s two goals gave Colorado its second straight victory and improved it to 3-0-1 in its last four.
“He’s scoring a lot of big goals,” Avalanche coach Tony Granato said. “You can’t say enough about what he’s added to our team. He’s been a big boost for us.”
The Avs’ newest acquisition has helped spark a club that looked sluggish and lacked cohesiveness at the season’s outset. A win Tuesday would pull Colorado to within three points of Vancouver, which has the most points in the NHL and figures to be the Avs’ main competition in the Northwest for a second straight season.
The Avalanche don’t figure to have Kariya’s services anytime soon, as the star forward missed his ninth straight game Sunday because of a sprained right wrist. Rugged defenseman Adam Foote sat out his second straight contest with a pulled hamstring, and his status for Monday is uncertain.
Despite being below .500, the Sharks have earned points in six straight games and have managed to stay in the crowded race for first place in the Pacific Division. San Jose beat Washington 3-2 on Saturday to improve to 2-0-3-1 in its last six games.
Jonathan Cheechoo’s goal snapped a second-period tie as the Sharks ended their longest road swing of the season 2-1-3-1.
“We’re able to go home satisfied. … Eight points and 15 days later—I don’t know many teams that could expect to get about a point every night,” defenseman Kyle McLaren said.
Colorado has dominated San Jose, outscoring the Sharks 14-3 in sweeping the four-game season series in 2002-03. The Avalanche lead the all-time series 28-10-4-1.