The show went on Friday night in Anaheim, though that wasn’t a given.
Backup goaltender Jonas Johansson recorded his first NHL shutout and Valeri Nichushkin broke the scoring stalemate late in the second period of a 2-0 Colorado Avalanche victory against the Ducks.
“Just happiness right now,” Johansson said.
The Avalanche morning skate was cancelled “as a precaution” due to a positive test from the day before. The team said all other players and staff had tested negative.
Defenseman Bowen Byram, who has been out since March 25 with an injury but was skating with the team, was added to the COVID-19 Protocol Related Absences list several hours later.
Johansson said he woke up to a text about the positive text.
“The whole day was kind of weird. Long day at the hotel for sure,” Johansson said. “But I tried to stay focused like any game day.”
Coach Jared Bednar said as they waited on more test results, the league requested the Avalanche stay apart and away from the rink. They had small, short meetings at the hotel instead of a skate.
“I think that hurt us a little bit today with our energy, but I think the guys handled it pretty well,” Bednar said. “It was a little bit of nervous energy, really hoping Bo would be the only positive test and we wouldn’t be missing guys here for a significant length of time, especially this time of year.”
More positive tests would have threatened the game, but Bednar said he didn’t think there was a lot of concern.
“We feel like we’ve been doing a good job around here,” he said.
Anaheim goaltender John Gibson kept the game scoreless through the first 37 minutes. He swatted a puck that popped up out of midair close to the goal line, that would have been Mikko Rantanen’s, and later denied Cale Makar point-blank.
Gibson had little chance on the only goal the Avalanche put past him. Nichushkin was allowed to move up, take a feed from Ryan Graves, go to one knee and one-time it past the Ducks goaltender.
Rantanen left empty-handed again in the third period when his shot sailed directly through the crease without hitting Gibson. He was rewarded only when Gibson went to the bench for the extra attacker and scored into the empty net.
Johansson had allowed a goal on the first shot he faced in all three of his appearances with the Avalanche since being acquired in a trade. He stopped the first one Friday, and then the next 27.
“We’re pretty excited for him to get his first shutout, that’s awesome,” forward Tyson Jost said. “He did a great job. He was our rock back there tonight.
“We relied on him really heavily. We didn’t help him out too much.”