DENVER -- With four wins in their past five games, the Colorado Avalanche are in position to reach the .500 mark for the first time this season, but they'll need to defeat the Chicago Blackhawks at Pepsi Center on Wednesday.
The injury-riddled Avalanche (8-9-5) will start rookie goalie Calvin Pickard because Semyon Varlamov remains out with a groin injury and Reto Berra is struggling. Top defenseman Erik Johnson will be a game-time decision. He left in overtime Tuesday after sustaining a head injury in a collision with Arizona Coyotes forward Martin Hanzal in the Avalanche's come-from-behind 4-3 win.
Down to five healthy defensemen, the Avalanche recalled Karl Stollery from the Lake Erie Monsters of the American Hockey League in case Johnson can't play. Varlamov was placed on injured reserve retroactive to Nov. 15 to make room for Stollery on the active roster.
Stollery, 27, had three goals and four assists in 16 games with Lake Erie. He made his NHL debut last season when he played in two games with Colorado.