Colorado Avalanche: Erik Johnson Scores Game Winner, Leaves the Game

Colorado Avalanche v Tampa Bay Lightning
Colorado Avalanche v Tampa Bay Lightning /

The Colorado Avalanche beat the Florida Panthers on Erik Johnson’s goal, then lost the big defenseman to potential injury.

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson had a big night. He scored the game-winning goal.

Unfortunately, the Avs win is tempered by the fact that Johnson later left the game after apparently taking a puck to the inside of the knee.

First, the goal. It was by far NOT the prettiest goal of the night. That distinction goes to Nathan MacKinnon, who split the Florida Panthers defense — making them look foolish in the process — to score this beauty:

Johnson’s goal also wasn’t the ugliest of the night. That distinction goes to Alexander Kerfoot, who continues to score goals off of random body parts:

Erik Johnson’s goal was the… least-celebrated:

Johnson seems to not even know he scored until he hears his teammates celebrating.

It is a nice goal by Johnson. He steps up into the play and drills a bomb of a shot that beat Florida goalie James Reimer five-hole. That was the Colorado Avalanche’s fourth goal of the game. They went on to win the game 7-3 — which is the most goals the Avalanche have scored in a game since December 2014.

And now we get what has every Avs fans on tenterhooks — Johnson was wrestling with Florida forward Nick Bjugstad in front of the Colorado net. The Florida player on the point released a slapshot. Johnson took the puck to the inside of his right knee:

As you can see, Johnson buckles to the ice, obviously in pain. He’s favoring the right knee as he gets up and skates to the bench.

Color analyst Peter McNab put it best in the post-game show:

"“The win was great. But the loss of Erik Johnson for any length of time would be bad.”"

More from Mile High Sticking

The good news is that Johnson not only skated off on his own, he came back after being in the locker room with the trainer. He did a quick whirl around the ice and did not seem to be favoring his right leg.

As announcer Mark Rycroft pointed out, a player isn’t going to be testing his knee if it’s a potentially bad injury. Rycroft surmised that the puck may have hit him in the meaty, tender part of the knee. He added, “He’ll probably be sitting on an ice pack the rest of the night.”

Johnson did not play the rest of the game, but the Avs were up by three.

Coach Jared Bednar had no update on Johnson in his post-game presser.

A year ago almost to the day Erik Johnson blocked a Tyler Seguin shot. It broke his leg. He was out for months. The team tanked.

Next: Johnson Aims to be Mentor

Right now the Colorado Avalanche are a .500 hockey team. They’re playing fun hockey. If they lost Johnson to injury again, their season could go into a death spiral again.

Join me in a heartfelt wish: EJ, be ok.