The Colorado Avalanche aren’t handling Sami Aittokallio with kid gloves.
That’s the story out of Los Angeles on Thursday as the Avs announced they’ll start Aittokallio — a 20-year-old goalie from AHL Lake Erie — against the defending Stanley Cup champs tonight at Staples Center.
Colorado, the league’s last-place team, is without No. 1 goalie Semyon Varlamov (hip) and has started 35-year-old Jean-Sebastien Giguere in four of the last five games.
So, enter Aittokallio, Colorado’s fourth-round pick at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft that’s posted a 14-11-1 record with a 2.89 GAA and .903 save percentage with the Monsters this season.
While not exactly seasoned at the pro level, Aittokallio knows a thing or two about playing under difficult circumstances. Playing for Team Finland at the 2012 World Juniors, Aittokallio stopped 56 shots in a semifinal shootout loss to Sweden.
The Finns were out-shot 58-24 in the game.