Avalanche Blues Hockey

Colorado Avalanche's Devon Toews (7) handles the puck during the first period in Game 4 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series against the St. Louis Blues Sunday, May 23, 2021, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

DENVER — Avalanche defenseman Devon Toews made his first appearance of the season at the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night. It wasn't like old times with usual partner Cale Makar out of the lineup, but a solid debut regardless.

“He helps you in all three zones on both sides of the puck,” coach Jared Bednar said Saturday afternoon.

“Really the whole package. He's a complete defenseman and really good two-way defenseman. Experienced guy. One of the biggest things I think is that poise and presence that he brings. He's never in a panic and makes a lot of good decisions.”

The Avalanche could use every one of the qualities listed, every night, but especially during an up-and-down start. Toews was plus-1 in 21:08 of ice time. He logged nearly three minutes on the power play and nearly four on the penalty kill.

“I lost track of him a little bit as the game went on, but I would say for a first game back after missing the time that he’s missed, he was really good,” Bednar said.

Toews needed the start of the season to work his way back from offseason surgery.

“It’s been good being around the guys a lot lately, just rehabbing and such, but to get in the lineup and help the team – we've got to get back on track,” Toews said before the game. “The answers are in our room right now and I think we’re all excited for the challenge ahead.”

Toews suspected the Avalanche were trying to do a little too much

“I don’t think there’s one simple answer to it," he said. "I think it’s just a team effort that we’ve just got to step up our game a little bit.”

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