As I said in a story last night, I think the odds are high that we won’t see Nathan MacKinnon in a game for the Colorado Avalanche until Game 1 of a first-round playoff series, against either the St. Louis Blues or the Minnesota Wild. The odds are much higher the Avs will play the Wild, and the last remaining unanswered question is which team will have home-ice advtantage.
MacKinnon is out for tonight’s game against the Los Angeles Kings, with his lower-body injury. I am told it’s a minor thing and that MacK would have played if this had been a playoff game. But, it’s not, and so he won’t. I think we’ll see him back for Game 1 of the first-round series, unless the Avs have a chance to win a division title in the last game or two against Los Angeles at home this coming week.
Jonas Johansson is in goal for the Avs tonight against the Kings. I thought Philipp Grubauer would start, but as Jared Bednar said the other day, his main goal right now, as a coach, is to go into the playoffs with the most healthy, rested main roster as he can get. He currently has nine players out with injury – seven of which started on the opening-night roster.
Bednar, I think, is just of the mindset now: “Forget about the division, what matters is winning in the playoffs. And I can’t do that with half my team on the injured list.”
The Avs have been just so cursed by injuries, that I don’t think they want to tempt fate any longer before the start of the postseason later this week.