Joe Sakic led the Colorado Avalanche as an elite center, not the general manager, the last time the Avs qualified for the Western Conference final.
The Avs can return to the third round of the NHL playoffs for the first time in 18 years if they can defeat the San Jose Sharks Wednesday (9 p.m., ET, NBCSN).
If the Sharks lose, they will be the seventh No. 1 or No. 2 divisional seed to be eliminated in the first two rounds. The Boston Bruins, the No. 2 seed from the Atlantic Division, is the only team from the top eight already in the conference final.
The Sharks already have won a Game 7 this season, beating the Vegas Golden Knights in the first round. They scored four goals on a controversial five-minute cross-checking major and eventually won in overtime.
The Sharks’ postseason inconsistency has centered on their inability to keep the puck out of their own net. Their 3.15 playoff goals-against average is worst among the teams still alive in the postseason. They have given up four or more goals six times in 13 games.