How will the Avalanche survive Nathan MacKinnon injury? “It seems to be getting worse at this point.”


PHILADELPHIA — The good news for the Avalanche is that the horizon might be visible, if this hint from Alex Newhook is any indicator.

“It’s kind of a day-to-day mindset for us. Has been since the start of the year,” he was saying in response to a question about Colorado’s injury misfortune. “We have guys dropping a lot. I think we should have a few guys coming back, too.”

Duly noted as the Avs (13-9-1) return home from a withering four-game road trip. They finished it 1-3-0, with new blows to Josh Manson, Artturi Lehkonen and perhaps most detrimentally Nathan MacKinnon.

“We lost probably the best guy — I can say in the world right now, with (Connor) McDavid,” Avalanche forward Martin Kaut told The Denver Post, describing MacKinnon after a 5-3 loss to the Flyers on Monday.

The team should know the severity or lack thereof by Wednesday, when the Bruins (20-3-1) visit for a rematch. Colorado lost 5-1 Saturday in Boston, and that was 48 hours before Jared Bednar’s lineup got really weird in Philadelphia. The forward lines might reach peak absurdity Wednesday (7 p.m. MT) if Lehkonen remains out and nobody returns. (Bednar said Tuesday morning on Altitude that MacKinnon will miss time, but the team doesn’t know how much yet.) One speculation on what that might look like can be seen below.

By the end of the Flyers game, seven of 17 Avalanche skaters had either been on waivers or played in the AHL this season.

But the fact remains that the Avs almost pulled off a dramatic comeback in the final three minutes despite demoralizing circumstances. Mikko Rantanen and Newhook scored 36 seconds apart to make John Tortorella sweat on the opposite bench in a 4-3 game. Philadelphia had gotten too comfortable. The Flyers’ coach called the NHL a “young, dumb league” recently, a comment that Bednar didn’t completely affirm or rebut Monday.

“Could have just been the mood Torts was in, maybe,” he said. “But they’re kind of going through the same things that we’re going through. They’ve got a lot of new faces. They’ve got a lot of guys out with injuries. So there’s a learning curve there for sure, when you’re calling guys up and plugging them in and probably asking them to do more than what you normally would.”


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