Several big pieces of the Colorado Avalanche lineup were missing in Game 2 but the team made do.
Jared Bednar said before Monday's game that veteran defenseman Erik Johnson and goaltender Philipp Grubauer were out indefinitely after both were injured in a Game 1 loss.
“We’ve got to move on and go without them for the foreseeable future,” Bednar said in Edmonton, Alberta.
Bednar replaced them with veterans. Edmonton native Kevin Connauton was paired with Nikita Zadorov and played 10:42. He tried several point shots and four attempts made it on net.
Bednar cited Connauton’s size, strength, skating ability and experience in explaining why he got the nod over other candidates.
Connauton, 30, spent four games with the Avalanche and 38 with the team’s AHL affiliate Colorado Eagles. He had five goals and 22 assists and was plus-5. He’s played parts of nine NHL seasons but his only previous playoff experience in the league came with the Dallas Stars in 2013-14.
“Obviously unfortunate circumstances going in, but been working hard since I got back to Denver for training camp and since we got up here,” Connauton said. “Just keeping myself prepared and ready to go.”
Bednar said Connauton had been skating with the main group most of the time they’ve been in the bubble as opposed to the reserves.
Michael Hutchinson backed up Pavel Francouz. Hutchinson, 30, was acquired at the trade deadline from the Toronto Maple Leafs and won his only start March 2.
Bednar said Matt Calvert, who was unfit to play in Game 1, was day-to-day. The forward didn’t play Monday as expected.
Johnson appeared to hurt his leg in the first period and went back and forth to the bench. He did not play a shift in the third period. Grubauer appeared to tweak something and had to be helped off the ice.
Grubauer sustained a lower-body injury during the Stadium Series game at the Air Force Academy on Feb. 15 and missed the rest of the regular season.