Colorado Avalanche forward Paul Stastny will miss Monday’s game against the Winnipeg Jets with a back injury, but the Denver Post reports that he’s expected to return for Wednesday’s big test against the Chicago Blackhawks.
As of this writing, the Avs are three points behind Chicago for the second spot in the Central Division, but they’ve played one fewer game. They also have more regulation/overtime wins (38-33) among tiebreaker advantages.
Obviously, beating Winnipeg would only improve the Avs’ chances of usurping the Blackhawks, but they’ll do so with a modified lineup, as Stastny’s absence forces Patrick Roy to roll with 11 forwards and seven defensemen. Nathan MacKinnon moves from winger to center to fill the void left by Stastny while Jamie McGinn jumps up from the third line to take MacKinnon’s spot.
Stastny, 28, is set to be an unrestricted free agent this summer. He has 20 goals and 47 points in 58 games, ranking as an underrated part of Colorado’s breakthrough season.