CENTENNIAL, Colo.--Joonas Donskoi is getting closer to returning to the Colorado Avalanche lineup, but he will have to wait a little longer for his return to game action.
Donskoi joined the team as a non-contact participant at practice on Wednesday for the first time since taking a high hit on Jan. 7 at the New York Rangers. He previously took part in Tuesday's optional morning skate in the same capacity and skated on his own before the last few full-group sessions.
"He was OK, he wasn't cleared for contact though today," head coach Jared Bednar said of the Finnish forward. "He took some light contact yesterday, he was allowed controlled contact today. He won't be an option for us for tomorrow."
Video: Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar after practice
Donskoi has 29 points (14 goals, 15 assists) through 44 games this season and his first game against his former club, the San Jose Sharks, will have to be postponed. Donskoi spent his first four NHL seasons with San Jose (2015-2019) prior to signing with Colorado this past offseason as a free agent, and his 14 goals this year has already tied his career high that he set in 2017-18 and 2018-19.
The Avs will host the Sharks on Thursday in the first meeting between the teams since Game 7 of their second-round series from last year's Stanley Cup Playoffs. It is the first of the three-game season series that also has the Avalanche playing in San Jose on March 8 before the clubs wrap up the set on March 17 at Pepsi Center.
Thursday's contest also marks the third game of the Avalanche's five-game homestand. The Avs opened the home stay with overtime losses to the Pittsburgh Penguins and Dallas Stars, but Colorado played well and had its share of quality scoring chances in both matchups.
The Avalanche outshot the Stars 43-30 on Tuesday night and led 2-0 after the first period, but Dallas climbed back to tie the game and scored the game-winner after a faceoff win at the 1:54 mark of the extra frame.
Video: Nazem Kadri on staying even-keel and focsued
"If we just continue to play like we did against Dallas, I mean I like our chances most nights than not," said forward Nazem Kadri. "Sometimes you are going to get a little unlucky or run into a hot goaltender, I mean that is just the National Hockey League. There are some great players and guys that are able to steal games for teams. For us in here, it is just about keeping that positive mentality. We know how good we are, we just got to continue to stay with it."
Colorado concludes the homestand with day games against the St. Louis Blues on Saturday and Detroit Red Wings on Monday.
Practice Line Combinations
92 Gabriel Landeskog - 29 Nathan MacKinnon - 96 Mikko Rantanen
13 Valeri Nichushkin - 91 Nazem Kadri - 95 Andre Burakovsky
83 Matt Nieto - 41 Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - 11 Matt Calvert
17 Tyson Jost - 37 J.T. Compher - 81 Vladislav Kamenev - 72 Joonas Donskoi*
27 Ryan Graves - 8 Cale Makar
49 Samuel Girard - 6 Erik Johnson
16 Nikita Zadorov - 28 Ian Cole
44 Mark Barberio
31 Philipp Grubauer
39 Pavel Francouz
Did Not Practice: Colin Wilson (lower body, out indefinitely)