girard walked out of saturday night’s game, an eventual 5-2 colorado victory to take a 2-1 series lead, two minutes into the game and in his first and only 56-second at-bat in St. louis after a lob hit along the boards from blues forward ivan barbashev. The severity of the injury was announced after the game and after Girard was taken to a local hospital for further evaluation. Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar confirmed the 24-year-old Blueliner broke his sternum and will be out for the rest of the postseason.
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Girard’s loss vacates a substantial role on the Colorado Blue Line, where the left-handed shot consistently paired with Josh Manson, averaged 17:59 in the postseason and anchored one of Colorado’s power-play units. the Avalanche. Bednar didn’t confirm who will join the lineup in Girard’s place, but the Avalanche have solid options — and all lefty shots — in Jack Johnson, Ryan Murray and Kurtis Macdermid, none of whom have made their respective postseason debuts yet. .
“all these guys have worked hard here,” bednar said Sunday morning. “[They’ve been] skating more to try to make sure they’re ready to go when the time comes, usually with how it works. I haven’t seen any change in attitude. It can be long and tiring.” We’ve been three or four weeks into this now. some of those guys haven’t played in a game, but they have to be ready. they have to do the extra work because obviously on a game night everyone else is getting three extra hours of hard work.”
Johnson, a 35-year-old with 1,024 career regular-season games, dressed in 30 regular-season games for the Avalanche. Murray, 28, played in 37 regular-season games but hasn’t played since March 21 after suffering an upper-body injury from which he has since recovered. Macdermid, 28, dressed in 58 games for the Avalanche during the regular season.
All three blueliners have been diligently preparing and maintaining their sharpness and proficiency levels despite not being in the lineup for the postseason and before.
“everyone is a professional,” said devon toews. “They’re real pros and they’re ready to play. Whoever fills that spot is going to be ready. We had to do it all year with injuries and stuff. We’ve got so many good guys sitting around, who haven’t played at all or played in a long time. Most of those guys were regulars for us at certain times of the year. I think whoever replaces us will be ready.”
While Girard’s absence is unfortunate, the circumstance of losing a regular is familiar to the Avalanche. during the regular season, the team utilized his depth and “next man up” mentality throughout the season as injuries continually plagued them. and while this loss comes at the biggest time of the year, the team is confident in their abilities to raise their own levels and that of their ample depth, as they did in game 3. the tight controls competition was highly competitive and emotionally driven as both sides suffered line-up losses; st. louis netminder jordan binnington did not return after 6:45 minutes as a result of a collision with nazem kadri and calle rosen and was confirmed by blues head coach craig berube on sunday morning to be sidelined for the remainder of the season. Serie.
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And even after trailing from a 1-0 deficit, the Avalanche rallied back with three straight strikes to claim the eventual 5-2 victory. they did so by playing practically the entire match with only five defenders; ace toews logged a whopping 30:56 minutes and cale makar skidded 28:49 minutes.
“If you lose a guy like Girard who plays more than 20 minutes for you, other guys have to step up,” Bednar said. “You’ve got Manson, [Erik Johnson] and [Bo Byram] did a great job. It’s a tough team to play against, they have a lot of firepower and I think they did a good job shutting them down.”
With Game 4 on Monday night, the Avalanche look to extend their series lead to 3-1 and prepare for the possibility of taking home ice in Game 5 on Wednesday night. but they don’t allow themselves to get too far ahead and are focused on the task at hand, waiting for a push from the blues, in a pivotal game 4.
“If they’re going to be more physical, we’ll be faster and more connected,” Toews said. “Whatever you bring, we’ll match it.
“If we’re able to get two [wins] in their building, that would be huge for us,” Toews continued. “Obviously if we go back [to Denver for game 5] 3-1 or 2-2, it’s a big difference in the series. Our focus has already moved to the next game.”