When the Colorado Avalanche hit the ice in Nashville on Friday night they will be facing elimination. They will also need to rely on their third-string goalie to help get them a win if they are going to extend their season.
The team announced on Thursday that Andrew Hammond will be getting the start, replacing Jonathan Bernier who had to leave Wednesday’s game after two periods with a lower body injury. Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said Bernier’s injury has been a nagging one and that he could still be available off the bench on Friday if needed.
Obviously, this puts the Avalanche in a pretty tough spot. Not only because they have to go on the road against the Presidents’ Trophy winning Predators, but also because they have to turn to a goalie that, including Wednesday’s brief relief appearance, has appeared in just eight NHL games over the past two years. He has faced only 127 shots in those appearances and managed only an .874 save percentage.
Late in the 2014-15 season he came out of nowhere as a 25-year-old rookie to lead the Ottawa Senators on an improbable late season run (where Hammond put together a 20-1-2 record) to qualify for the playoffs. Nicknamed “the Hamburglar,” his initial run in Ottawa was highlighted by fans throwing hamburgers on the ice to celebrate his wins. That run earned him a contract extension with the Senators and a bunch of free hamburgers from McDonalds. It was a crazy year.
After that, though, injuries and a decline in his production have limited him to just a handful of appearances in the NHL.
The Avalanche acquired him from the Senators earlier this season as part of the Matt Duchene trade.
Now he has to jump into the crease in an elimination game.