CENTENNIAL, Colo.--The Colorado Avalanche finished its contest against the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday without defensemen Erik Johnson and Anton Lindholm as both rear guards suffered upper-body injuries in the contest. There is not a timetable on when they could return to action.
"They are both out indefinitely. I don't have a timeline on it," head coach Jared Bednar said after the team's optional practice at Family Sports Center on Monday.
Johnson and Lindholm join rear guard Mark Barberio on injured reserve. Barberio has been recovering from a lower-body ailment since Jan. 25.
"We are going to need some guys to step up and play, because there's a lot of minutes to play in a game, especially when you are without two guys who have been playing in your top four in Barbs and EJ. We rely on those guys heavily in a lot of different situations," Bednar said. "We have three D out, so the job gets tougher now. But, we got to focus on the guys who are in the lineup and the guys that we recall and helping them as much as we can and keep trying to improve with the guys we got."
Video: Bednar discusses his team before going on the road
Lindholm is in his rookie campaign and has three assists in 43 games after missing a month earlier this season with a broken jaw.
Johnson is fifth in the NHL and leads the Avalanche in time on ice, averaging 25:43 a contest and is second among team D-men in scoring with 22 points (seven goals, 15 assists). He is the Avs' most veteran defenseman and has been a big part of Colorado's penalty-kill unit, which ranks fourth in the NHL.
"You cannot control those injuries, you can get an injury anytime," said blueliner Nikita Zadorov. "It sucks to lose [a guy like Johnson], especially for me. I have been playing with him really well for the last 35 games or so. I mean we just need to focus on our game personally, all the D-corps. Just bring our best, and hopefully good things will happen."
On Monday afternoon, Colorado recalled defensemen David Warsofsky and Andrei Mironov from the San Antonio Rampage of the American Hockey League. Bednar is unsure what his D-pairings will look like but says that Zadorov should stay on the top duo.
"We got to find some pairs that work, and there is going to be some experimenting going on, for sure," said Bednar. "There are different aspects to it, you have to be able to defend against other teams' top lines, especially on the road. We might have to balance them out a little bit, but we are going to have a handful of small guys back there and some other guys with not a whole bunch of experience."
After practice, the Avalanche left for a three-game road trip to Western Canada to wrap up a stretch that had it playing 13-of-16 games on the road.
"We know we are better than the teams where we are going to play right now. We just have to win, that's the mindset for us," said Zadorov. "We put [ourselves] in a tough situation. The last 10 games we weren't great, and it can cost us. No mistake can happen. We have to go up there and win those games."
Video: Nikita Zadorov talks after practice
VARLAMOV STARTING IN VANCOUVER
Semyon Varlamov will be between the pipes for the Avs at the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday to start the club's three-game road trip. Bednar noted that he is unsure if Varlamov will play in all three contests for the Avalanche or if backup netminder Andrew Hammond will get a start.
The Samara, Russia, native has a 14-12-2 record with a 2.84 goals-against average and a .913 save percentage in 32 appearances this season.
"Right now it's Varly's net," said Bednar. "We need Varly to be exceptional, we need a lot of guys to be better than what they have been and better than average and just good if we are going to win now, especially with the guys that are out of the lineup.
"We need our goaltending to be exceptional, and he has been pretty good, so he gives us the best chance to win right now. So, we will probably ride him here a little bit and see what he can do."
Goaltender Jonathan Bernier is listed as day-to-day with a head injury, which is likely a result of a collision that he took in Colorado's contest at the Winnipeg Jets on Feb. 16.
"He is still in the concussion protocol, feeling a little bit better," said Bednar. "It's hard to tell with a concussion injury. Just take it day-by-day until he feels good enough to hit the ice again."