Colorado Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy announced on Tuesday that Matt Duchene and Nathan MacKinnon are going to be out the next two games due to knee injuries. The forwards will miss Thursday's contest against the Philadelphia Flyers and Saturday's matinee versus the Minnesota Wild.
“We are going to go on a week basis,” Roy said about the timeline for MacKinnon and Duchene’s return. “They won’t play over the weekend for sure.”
Both were absent from Tuesday’s practice and will not participate for the remainder of the week.
“As we speak, they are not going to skate [this week],” Roy said. “We will see how it goes over the weekend and from there we will give you more.”
Roy said the statuses of Duchene and MacKinnon would be reevaluated on Sunday before the team's flight to Nashville for the start of a two-game road trip. Colorado plays at the Predators on Monday and the St. Louis Blues next Tuesday.
“Sunday, ask me the same questions, see if they are going to come on the road trip” Roy said. “I will give you an update every week, see how they do and if they are close to coming back.”
The 26-year-old Duchene got hurt in Wednesday's game at Vancouver, while the 20-year-old MacKinnon injured himself in the third period of Friday's contest at Calgary. The Avalanche won all three games of its Western Canada swing that concluded on Sunday in Edmonton.
Duchene leads the Avalanche with 29 goals and 56 points in 71 contests this season. MacKinnon is second on the club in scoring with 21 goals and 52 points in 72 games. Both centers lead the team with six game-winning goals.
These are the first contests the players have missed all season.
As a result of the injuries, Colorado recalled rookie forward Mikko Rantanen from the San Antonio Rampage of the American Hockey League on Saturday. In 44 outings with the Rampage, the 19-year-old has 52 points (21 goals and 31 assists), which leads all AHL rookies in scoring. He recently set a new San Antonio franchise record for points and assists in a season by a rookie.
Rantanen was the Avalanche’s first-round pick (10th overall) at the 2015 NHL Draft and played in the first six games of the season. He drew into the lineup on Sunday in Edmonton, centering the fourth line with Cody McLeod and Jack Skille.