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Avalanche Game 82 Plus/Minus: Drouin Injury Concern, Wrap It Up




As with every game, you take the good with the bad, so time to take a look at the pluses and the minuses in the game against the Edmonton Oilers for the Colorado Avalanche.

Jonathan Drouin Injury Concern

When you decide to play all your regulars in a relatively meaningless game, you run the risk of losing someone to injury. Actually, you run that risk anytime you play any hockey game. That’s just the nature of the sport.

At the end of the second period, Jonathan Drouin, while forechecking, seemed to trip over himself and land awkwardly on the ice. He immediately got up in pain and went straight to the locker room, never to return. Here’s a video of the incident, for anyone that missed it.

Keep in mind that by the time the third period started, the game was 5-1. There really was no point in Drouin returning even if he was okay. After the game, Bednar didn’t have an update, which is about what you’d expect, especially at this time of the year. The Avalanche are off today, but will likely practice tomorrow before leaving for Winnipeg. I won’t be there, as I’ll already be headed towards Winnipeg, but will look for updates.

If you watch the video, the one thing I can really see is that Drouin’s right ankle seems to twist under his left leg. Hopefully everything is okay, but there isn’t much to see in that video. The only other thing I could maybe see is the skate of the Oilers defenseman looks like it might make contact with Drouin. We’ll just have to wait and if he is at the next practice.

Drouin is a huge part of this team right now, and who could have imagined saying that six months ago? Not sure the Avalanche have someone that they can just plug in to replace him in the top six, so just have to hope for the best.

+ Parise Scores In Final Regular Season Game

Zach Parise scored career goal number 434 on Thursday in his final regular season NHL game. He’s hoping to add a get a few more playoff goals under his belt, but that’s one way to go out, especially since he had gone over a month since scoring. One heck of a career for a guy who is pretty well liked in that Avalanche locker room.

+ End of the Regular Season

If you ask me, the NHL regular season is far too long, so I’m completely okay with wrapping it up. It’s great that the Avalanche were able to end the season on a high note, but I’m not sure how much you can really take from a game like that. All of Edmonton’s best players were up in the press box sitting just above me, but you take anything you can at this point in the season to use for your advantage.

Bring on the playoffs.

+ Nichushkin Breaks Through

Before the game, I asked Jared Bednar if Valeri Nichushkin was still getting his legs under him after his injury. Bednar said he was, and that’s why he was playing on Thursday.

Two goals in the first 10 minutes is a nice way to break out of a slump. Nichushkin was in such a good mood that he apparently talked to a few reporters after the game, which is rare for him. Nichushkin is a guy who can be really streaky, so if he manages to go on a hot streak right now, the Avalanche won’t mind.

– What Were The Oilers Thinking?

I don’t understand Edmonton’s line of thinking in starting their #1 goaltender, Stuart Skinner, in a game that they clearly didn’t care about. They hung him out to dry, and had to mercy pull him after the first period. That seems like a terrible decision right before you head into the playoffs. It would have made more sense to start him the night before in a game they somewhat tried in.

+ Annunen’s Diving Save

Justus Annunen got a lot of big cheers on Thursday night from Avalanche fans, but none bigger than the ovation he got for a diving save late in the first. The initial shot hit his helmet, and Foegele went for the wrap-around, but Annunen dove back across the crease to stop the puck. As soon as that happened, the fans went wild. Maybe the fans are pumping his tires because they’re worried about Georgiev, but he was a popular guy on Thursday. There’s a real chance we see him in the playoffs.

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