The Colorado Avalanche will be without star defenseman Cale Makar when they host the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday night.
Avs coach Jared Bednar said Makar suffered a minor injury in the team’s 5-1 win over Detroit on Saturday and was absent from Monday’s game as a precaution.
Bednar’s statement suggests the 24-year-old is not seriously injured and should be back in action in the coming days. Kurtis MacDermid will dress instead of Makar.
Makar, the defending Norris Trophy winner, will miss his 14th contest of the season. In February, he missed time with two concussions.
Despite his injury record, Makar is having another stellar season for the Avalanche, scoring 16 goals and 61 points in 55 games, good for third most on his team.
The health of Conn Smythe’s winner last season will be critically important to the defending Stanley Cup champions as they attempt to repeat.
Colorado had struggled to regain its dominant form for most of this season before a post-All-Star surge brought them near the top of the Central Division.
For the Avalanche, the top-seeded Dallas Stars and the second-seeded Minnesota Wild, the gap between the Central Division crown and a home loss in the first round is very narrow: the three teams are separated by 3 points.
The Avalanche have won five straight and will look to continue their blistering streak at home against a Blackhawks roster that is the NHL’s third-worst roster. The puck will drop at 9 p.m. ET.