NEW YORK — Valeri Nichushkin is out a second consecutive game with a lower body injury that Avalanche coach Jared Bednar has described as “day-to-day.”
Nichushkin is Colorado’s leader in goals scored and points as the first month of the season wraps up Saturday (5:30 p.m. MT) at the New York Islanders. He scored seven goals in the first seven games, making him the second Avalanche player ever to accomplish that feat, joining teammate Nathan MacKinnon. Nichushkin also has five assists.
He will still travel to Finland, and the hope is that he will be able to join the team for its first practice there. After facing the Islanders, the Avalanche (4-3-1) will not play another game until a back-to-back against Columbus next Friday and Saturday (noon MT) in Finland.
“He’s feeling better. Not ready to go tonight,” Bednar told The Post. “And then obviously we’ve got the travel over to Finland, which will give him another couple of days to get ready.”
Five of Nichushkin’s goals have been scored on the power play, as Colorado has emerged as the league’s most dangerous team with an extra man on the ice. But without him Friday in New Jersey, the Avs finished 0-for-6 on the power play in a 1-0 loss to the Devils. It was only the second time Colorado has been shut out in its last 154 games.
“It’s not ideal, obviously, him missing last night and tonight, especially with the way he’s playing,” Bednar said, “but it is what it is.”
Nichushkin primarily plays right wing on the Avalanche’s second line, which has otherwise struggled early this season. Alex Newhook currently centers that line, while Evan Rodrigues plays the other wing position. Without Nichushkin available in New Jersey, Martin Kaut moved up from the fourth line in his place.
When asked Saturday whether the current roster in New York will travel to Finland or if any changes are possible after the night’s game, Bednar said, “I think anything’s possible.”