PHILADELPHIA — Nathan MacKinnon left the Colorado Avalanche’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers in the first period at Wells Fargo Center on Monday because of an upper-body injury.
MacKinnon, a forward, went to the locker room with 8:13 remaining in the first. He appeared to be in pain after taking a shot that was blocked by the Flyers forward Scott Laughton moments before leaving the ice.
“The fact he’s leaving early in the game is not a good sign,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said Tuesday on his weekly radio show on Altitude Sports Radio 92.5. “We know he’s going to miss some time, just don’t know how long”.
The Avalanche, who lost 5-3, announced during the second intermission that MacKinnon would not return, although Bednar said he would travel back to Colorado with the team.
“[He’s] a guy that plays 25 (minutes) a night and in every situation, so you have to juggle everything,” Bednar said after the game. “Do the best you can. You’ve just got to keep grinding and find guys that contribute. … Guys are going to step up. It’s going to be a challenge. It’s been a challenge for us and seems to be getting worse at this point.”
MacKinnon played five shifts totaling 4:58 before leaving the game and had an assist on Alex Newhook‘s power-play goal at 3:50 that gave Colorado a 1-0 lead. It was his 26th assist, tying Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers for the NHL lead. MacKinnon leads Colorado with 34 points in 23 games.
The Avalanche played Monday without forwards Arthur Lehkonen, who sustained an upper-body injury against the Boston Bruins on Saturday, and Jean-Luc Foudy (lower body), who made a brief appearance at the morning skate before leaving the ice. Each player is considered day to day.
Colorado is also missing forwards Valery Nichushkin (ankle), Evan Rodrigues (lower body) and Shane Bowers (upper body), and defensemen Josh Manson (lower body), Bowen Byram (lower body) and Kurtis McDermid (lower body).
Forwards Gabriel Landeskog (knee) and Darren Helm (hip) have yet to play this season after each had offseason surgery.
“We’re losing a guy a game right now, all impact players for us,” Bednar said.