Avs lose Johnson, ride Varlamov’s brilliance vs. Chicago


In some ways, the big picture only got muddier for the Colorado Avalanche, as key defenseman Erik Johnson left Tuesday’s game with a back injury (according to the Denver Post’s Adrian Dater). Still, it all probably feels a little better when you steal a 3-2 OT win against the Chicago Blackhawks, which they did tonight.

As’s Tracey Myers points out, the Avalanche already came into today’s contest at a disadvantage, as Paul Stastny’s injury forced them to enter the game with only 17 skaters. Johnson’s injury bumped that number down to 16, but luckily they had Semyon Varlamov propping them all up in net, as he was often sensational in stopping 46 out of 48 shots. reports that Johnson is considered day-to-day.

The Avalanche subsisted on Varlamov’s outstanding play a strong night for Tyson Barrie, who scored the night’s first and clinching goals. Two of Colorado’s three tallies came on the power play, so you could probably put a check mark in the “finding ways to win” box.

Varlamov’s best moment likely came on this beautiful glove save on Patrick Kane:

Dater rightly notes that the injuries pile up as Johnson, Stastny and J.S. Giguere have had recent flare-ups, so they’ll need people like Varlamov – but probably not Varlamov alone – to keep things together.

It won’t get much easier, either, as they’ll face four of their next six and eight of their next 12 contests on the road.

Price placed on injured reserve; Yakupov to miss 2-4 weeks with sprained ankle

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Two injury updates in one post.

First, the situation with Montreal goalie Carey Price, who was hurt last night versus the Rangers.

According to Canadiens coach Michel Therrien, Price has been placed on injured reserve with a lower-body injury. That means he’ll be out at least a week, though no exact timeline was provided.

“We don’t know how long Carey will be out, but for us it’s business as usual,” said Therrien.

Mike Condon will get the start tomorrow in New Jersey.

As for Oilers forward Nail Yakupov, he’ll be out 2-4 weeks after spraining his ankle last night in Carolina while getting tangled up with a linesman.

Getzlaf didn’t love the ‘dead’ atmosphere at Coyotes game

Martin Erat, Ryan Getzlaf
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Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf wasn’t impressed with at least two things last night in Arizona:

1. His team’s performance in a 4-2 loss to the Coyotes.
2. The atmosphere inside Gila River Arena, where the announced attendance was just 11,578.

“It’s hard. When you come into a building … it’s dead,” Getzlaf told the O.C. Register. “Nothing against the fans. It’s hard to fill a big building like this and have the amount of people in it to build your energy. So you have to do it yourself. You have to be ready when you step on the ice. I thought we came out flat.”

Anaheim’s record fell to 8-11-4 with the defeat.

The Coyotes’ average attendance also fell, to 13,144 in eight games.

Jarred Tinordi becomes the latest youngster to be sent to the AHL for ‘conditioning’

Jarred Tinordi, Brendan Gallagher
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Like Frank Corrado (see here), Tomas Jurco (see here), Stanislav Galiev (see here), and Patrik Nemeth (see here) before him, Canadiens defenseman Jarred Tinordi is off to the AHL for a conditioning stint.

Tinordi, 23, has yet to play a single game for the Habs this season; however, because he’s no longer exempt from waivers, the former first-round pick has remained on Montreal’s roster.

It’s an issue that’s received a good deal of attention lately. Some believe the league should do something about it, lest more young players get “stuck” in the NHL.

Tinordi will only be allowed to spend two weeks in St. John’s, as per the rules of his conditioning loan.

Safe to say, if you’re an NHL general manager who thinks Tinordi still has potential, Marc Bergevin would welcome your best offer.

Stars place Lehtonen on IR, call up Campbell and Nemeth

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Kari Lehtonen will miss at least a few games with the upper-body injury he suffered the other night against Ottawa. The Dallas Stars announced today that they’ve placed the 32-year-old goalie on injured reserve, retroactive to Tuesday.

With Lehtonen out, Jack Campbell has been called up from AHL Texas to be Antti Niemi‘s backup. The Stars host Vancouver Friday, with a game at Minnesota Saturday.

Campbell, the 11th overall pick in the 2010 draft, has struggled in the AHL this season, going 3-3-0 with an .873 save percentage.

The Stars have also recalled defenseman Patrik Nemeth after the 23-year-old completed his 14-day conditioning assignment.

Related: Campbell credits ECHL stint for turning his game around