The Colorado Avalanche lost a game and their superstar forward. They fell 3-1 to the Kings in a game that saw Nathan MacKinnon leave with an injury.
The Colorado Avalanche lost their game against the LA Kings. That puts them at 1-2-0 for the three-game road trip. That also happens to be their record against the Kings this year.
Man, it sucks that the Avalanche couldn’t dominate a team that’s dead last in the Western Conference while Colorado is fighting for best in the same.
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That wasn’t the worst part of the evening, though. With about six minutes left in the game, Nathan MacKinnon left the building. Well, he didn’t leave the building actually — but he left the ice and did not return.
Naturally, the coaching staff didn’t have any updates on MacKinnon’s status except that he was out with a lower-body injury. No one could even say when it happened.
Even the unflappable Jared Bednar was uncharacteristically pessimistic when he was asked if he was concerned. He replied, “[MacKinnon] leaves the game, I’m concerned right away.”
That’s a blow the Avalanche did not need — and one they might not be able to recover from. Even before the MacKinnon loss, their injury list was the following:
I mean, that’s half the core of the team right there. You add MacKinnon to that list, and you’ve got about 85% of the core. Because the truth is you can ice an AHL team and still win if you’ve got MacKinnon playing. Without him, you’d better have your aces up your sleeve.
Right now, the only ace is captain Gabriel Landeskog. And, despite is Second Star honors, that’s simply not enough.
In the post-game show, color analyst Peter McNab said it best: “You get kind of numb.” After so many injuries, you start to question whether the Avs can even ice a predominantly NHL roster.
The Avalanche return home after tonight’s game. Burakovsky and Makar have been day-to-day. Grubauer, Rantanen, and Kadri have been working with skills coach Shaun Allard in no-contact red.
You’ve got to think Burakovsky and/or Makar are close to returning at least. And maybe the other three aren’t too far off. However, as McNab points out, if these injuries linger too much longer, you’ll have players returning rust right before the playoffs. And that’s not ideal.
Well, I doubt the Avalanche will have a practice tomorrow. So we won’t have an update on MacKinnon until Wednesday’s morning skate.
Meanwhile, let’s look at the stinker the Avs lost. The game had no flow, especially in the first. Indeed, both Gabriel Landeskog and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare agreed the game was lost in the first period. Colorado came out sluggish, the Kings got a couple lucky bounces — including a Kevin Connauton own-goal, and that was it.
Connauton’s goal was the game-winner for the Kings, by the way.
Something’s got to give. Unfortunately, it won’t be the schedule unless it caves into the coronavirus. Santa Clara County has cancelled all remaining events at SAP Center in San Jose. That includes three Sharks games.
I don’t know if this burgeoning pandemic will affect Avalanche games or even the entire playoffs.
Anyway, the Colorado Avalanche are about to enter a four-game home stand, for what that’s worth since they’re a slightly better team on the road. Maybe they can rest their weary bodies while collecting some home cooking points.