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Avalanche Gameday: Rantanen, Wood Out In Matchup Against Stars



Avalanche Stars

I’m stuck at an airport en route back to Denver for the game between the Avalanche and Stars tonight, so I missed morning skate. However, there is some pretty big news to report.

For one, Mikko Rantanen is out. Yes, I know that’s not really a surprise given what we all saw on Friday night, but it had to be mentioned. After taking a big hit from Mattias Ekholm, Rantanen struggled to get up and needed some help getting off the ice. He didn’t return, and Bednar confirmed on Sunday morning that he’s in concussion protocol.

However, it’s not all bad news. Rantanen flew home with the team on Friday and seems to already be progressing.

“He worked out yesterday, he skated this morning on his own,” Jared Bednar said after morning skate.

That’s something, and if you heard Elliotte Friedman on Saturday night, the Avalanche believe it’s not as bad as it could have been.

Unfortunately, Rantanen won’t be the only player missing from the Avalanche lineup. I had a feeling something else was up when Chris Wagner was recalled, because the team already had 12 forwards even without Rantanen, and my gut feeling was correct. Miles Wood will also miss the game with a lower-body injury. He’s listed as, you guessed it, day-to-day.

It will not be Justus Annunen in net against the Stars. The Avalanche are going right back to Alexandar Georgiev, which isn’t a huge surprise, seeing as how he’s the starter. They’ll need him to be a lot better than he was on Friday, to say the least.

There’s a lot riding on this game. The Stars are currently three points ahead of the Avalanche in the standings, so a regulation win either way swings things dramatically. If Colorado happens to lose in regulation, they’re leaving the door open for the Winnipeg Jets to catch them. Winnipeg is just two points behind Colorado and owns all the tiebreakers at the moment, so if both teams end the season with the same amount of points, the Jets would start with home-ice advantage.

Colorado is a much better at home than they are on the road, so two points tonight will be crucial.

Other News And Notes

  • When asked if Nikolai Kovalenko is close to joining the Avalanche, Bednar responded, “With us? No. He’s with the Eagles.” Kovalenko continued to ramp things up this week with his skating, but there doesn’t appear to be a clear plan as far as what they’re going to do with him. If there is, they aren’t saying it publicly.

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