The Colorado Avalanche are a young team with little postseason experience, so today’s news regarding injured defenseman Jan Hejda and forward John Mitchell could loom large.
Hejda, the team’s second-leading blueliner in TOI per game (22:20), left Sunday’s game versus Anaheim with an upper-body injury and didn’t return. When asked about the 35-year-old’s condition, Avs head coach Patrick Roy wasn’t exactly brimming with optimism.
“We’ll see more in the next few days,” Roy said, per the Denver Post. “I hope he’ll be OK to play against Minny, but we’ll see.”
Mitchell, a versatile penalty killer that scored a career-high 32 points this season, has been been diagnosed with a concussion after sitting out this weekend’s games against the Sharks and Ducks. The 29-year-old is unlikely to be ready for the start of the series against Minnesota, and that’ll be a big blow given Mitchell averages over 16 minutes per game — including nearly two minutes of shorthanded — and has playoff experience, having gone to the Eastern Conference finals with the Rangers in ’12.
The Avalanche were already without leading scorer and Canadian Olympian Matt Duchene, who’s out for another couple of weeks with a knee injury, and held offensive defenseman Tyson Barrie out of Sunday’s game following this huge hit from San Jose’s Jason Demers the night before: