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Postgame Wrap-Up: Brassard Scores In Avalanche Debut

Colorado acquired the forward from Florida on Monday

by Callie Parmele @CallieParmele / ColoradoAvalanche.com

Derick Brassard woke up as a member of the Florida Panthers, preparing to play the Colorado Avalanche, but he finished the day in the Avs dressing room facing his former team.

When he took the ice with Florida for morning skate at Pepsi Center on Monday, Brassard was quickly ushered off the playing surface. It was time to move his gear from the visiting dressing room to the home team's locker room as he had been traded just down the hallway.

Colorado acquired the Hull, Quebec, native and a conditional sixth-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft from the Panthers before the NHL Trade Deadline at 1 p.m. MT on Monday in exchange for a third-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft.

He scored 7:49 into the third period in his Avalanche debut to give Colorado a 3-2 lead, but Florida tied the game four minutes later and the Avs eventually fell 4-3 in overtime.

Video: FLA@COL: Brassard takes lead with his first Avs goal

"The first period, it took me a couple shifts to get used to it and be comfortable out there. As far as the goal, there was a great play by [Ryan Graves] there," said Brassard. "I guess they fell asleep there. I was just coming down the middle, and it was a good play by him to be patient and go around the net. I felt like we played a good game in general, but maybe we needed a little bit more tonight and that is why we didn't get the extra point."

Brassard now has 20 points (11 goals, nine assists) this season and finished the outing with the goal, a plus-1 rating and won 9-of-12 faceoffs in 13:20 of ice time. 

The 31-year-old center began the game on a line with Tyson Jost and Matt Calvert, the latter of whom he played with when they were both members of the Columbus Blue Jackets as Calvert was trying to establish himself as an NHL player from 2010-13

"I think you are excited because he is a great team guy," Calvert said of his thoughts when he heard Brassard was joining Colorado. "When I first came into the league, he took me in--I stayed with him for a month or two at his house--so I got to know him well and I have kind of followed his career since. I have kept close in touch, seen him at a few weddings over the summers. Great addition for our team, a lot of talent and he is only going to help our playoff chances."

Video: Postgame reaction from Matt Calvert

In addition to Calvert, Brassard was familiar a few other of his new teammates. However, there is still an adjustment period that comes with being on a different team and getting to know the system.

"It is hard when you step into a game. First period, I think he was just trying to feel us out, feel out the systems," Calvert said of Brassard. "You got a lot to learn when you come to a new team, I went through that at the start of this year, but obviously a big goal for us. It gave us a lead at the time in the third period. I think you will see a lot of that from him, and he is going to contribute in a big way." 

Brassard has played in 766 career NHL contests and is no stranger to having to adjust to a new system midseason, as he has already had to do that once this year.

He began the year with the Pittsburgh Penguins and had 15 points (nine goals, six assists) in 40 games with the Pens before he was acquired by the Panthers on Feb. 1. He played in 10 games with Florida and recorded four points (one goal, three assists) in that span.

"He hasn't skated in a couple days, comes in, gets brushed up on a couple things, scores a big goal for us," Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar said of his new forward. "Pretty good on the draws, even on his off side. We will get to know him a little bit better. I don't know him well as a player, tried to do my homework on him and stuff, but he was pretty good. I liked his talk out there, a veteran guy who knows what's going on, making the right reads. For the most part I was pretty happy with his game."

Colorado now has 66 points this season, tied with the Minnesota Wild for the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

RANTANEN RECORDS 80TH POINT: Mikko Rantanen notched a goal to move into a tie with Nathan MacKinnon for the team lead with 80 points this season.

Rantanen now has 26 goals and 54 assists this year, four points shy of his career high set last season, and is on a four-game point streak (two goals, two assists).

He and MacKinnon are tied for fourth in the league in points and are the first set of teammates to hit the 80-point mark this year.

Video: FLA@COL: Rantanen wires wrist shot past Luongo

NIETO INJURY UPDATE: Avs forward Matt Nieto will miss the next six-to-eight weeks with a lower-body injury that he suffered during the game at the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday.   

"Unfortunately, we found out this afternoon," Avalanche executive vice president/general manager Joe Sakic said of Nieto's timetable before the game against Florida. "We assumed it was a couple weeks, this afternoon I was told it is a six-to-eight week injury. Unfortunately for him, he's been such a big part of this team and he brings that energy and he has had a tremendous year for us."

Nieto has recorded a career-high 18 assists in 58 outings this season and also scored four goals. He also averages 2:44 of short-handed time on ice per game, which leads all Avalanche forwards this season.   

OTHER INJURY UPDATES: Defenseman Ian Cole participated in Colorado's morning skate before the contest in a red, non-contact jersey and wore a full face shield for the first time since he suffered an upper-body injury on Feb. 7 at the Washington Capitals.

"He has been skating now since we have been gone. He has gotten on the ice and is making some improvements," Bednar said of Cole. "I don't have a timetable on him just yet, today is the first day he has skated with the group so hopefully that continues to progress this week.

"Colin Wilson is back with the group today so hopefully that continues to go in the right direction.

"[Conor] Timmins, I don't really have an update on him. He is still kind of been dealing with the same thing for quite some time now."

Wilson has been out of the lineup since he suffered an upper-body injury on Feb. 10 at the Boston Bruins, and Timmins has been on the club's injured non-roster list since the start of the season while recovering from a concussion.

MORE NOTES: The Avs and Panthers concluded their two-game season series, splitting the set with each team winning on the road.   

The Avalanche is 4-0-1 in its last five games and 5-1-1 over its last seven contests. The Avs have gained points in nine of their last 11 outings (5-2-4).

Colorado has averaged 4.6 goals per game over its last five contests, outscoring opponents 23-8 over that span. The team ranks ninth overall in goals per game at 3.32.

Tyson Barrie finished with two assists, his eighth multi-point game of the season. He now has 44 points in 2018-19, ranked 11th in scoring among NHL defensemen. Barrie has recorded three points (three assists) in his last two games.

Tyson Jost recorded his ninth goal of the season and has tallied five points (three goals, two assists) over his last five contests. He matched a season high with five shots (also on Dec. 6, 2018 at Florida).

Patrik Nemeth registered an assist and has three points (three assists) in his last three games.

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