5 NHL questions: Avalanche, Sharks vie for NHL's top spot

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

A daily feature that asks the five biggest questions about today's NHL action. Will they be answered? (That doesn't count as one of the five questions.)

1. Who will sit atop the NHL standings on Monday?

The San Jose Sharks and Colorado Avalanche might not have been the popular picks to lead the NHL in points after three weeks, but here we are. Both play on Sunday night, and the Avs can leapfrog San Jose for first place overall with a win and a San Jose loss.

2. Can Columbus win its fourth straight?

After a slow start to the season, the Blue Jackets are on a roll. They've beaten the Canucks, Devils and Maple Leafs to pull back to .500 on the season. Now they'll have to take care of an impressive Ducks squad to earn a winning record for the first time all year.

3. Will the Sharks' offense finally show up?

San Jose's attack has cooled off considerably since the red-hot start in the first two weeks of the season. The Sharks have scored just three goals in the last three games, yet have won two of them. They'll have plenty of chances to score on Sunday (Ottawa's 37.5 shots against per game is the most in the league) but getting past Sens goalie Craig Anderson is another matter entirely.

4. Will the Oilers be inspired or downtrodden after Saturday's collapse in Phoenix?

The Oilers let a 4-4 game slip away from them in the desert, taking three penalties in the last 10 minutes to let Phoenix score the game-winner easily. It doesn't get any easier on Sunday. The Kings are a tough opponent at home, and will surely make Edmonton pay for any similar mistakes.

5. Will Jacob Markstrom finally win?

The Panthers goalie hasn't won since Oct. 11, having dropped his last four games in net. Of course, he wasn't to blame for all of those losses. But a strong performance would go a long way in helping the Panthers find some semblance of consistency.

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