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Positive Signs at Avs Practice

Grubauer, Rantanen and Zadorov returned to the ice on Monday

by Callie Parmele @CallieParmele / ColoradoAvalanche.com

CENTENNIAL, Colo.--A few familiar faces returned to the Colorado Avalanche's practice ice on Monday.

Forward Mikko Rantanen (lower body), defenseman Nikita Zadorov (broken jaw) and goaltender Philipp Grubauer (lower body) all skated for the first time since suffering their respective injuries.

Philipp Grubauer missed the last two games with a lower-body injury but was in the crease at the start of the session after skating on his own before the group took the ice.

Zadorov was hit in the face while killing a penalty early in the second period of Colorado's win against the Nashville Predators on Thursday and had surgery to help repair a broken jaw on Friday. He practiced with the team for the majority of the session in a regular-contact sweater but will not be available to play on Tuesday at the Winnipeg Jets.  

The outing versus the Jets begins a five-game, 11-day road trip for Colorado. The journey features stops in four different Western Canadian cities (Winnipeg, Edmonton, Vancouver and Calgary) and concludes at the Minnesota Wild on Nov. 21.

"[Zadorov] got two plates and a bunch of screws, so I don't know an exact timetable on him," head coach Jared Bednar said. "It is just going to be depending on how he feels, but there is a chance that he can join us on the trip.

"Zadorov skated today, joined the group for a while, real good sign there. Grubauer went out alone and then wanted to stay out for a little bit of the practice. So that's a positive sign too, although I don't see him being ready for Winnipeg."

Rantanen skated on his own in a red, non-contact jersey before the team session began for the first time since suffering a lower-body injury at the St. Louis Blues on Oct. 21.

"[Rantanen] is working out right now, getting stronger," Bednar said. "Looks like he is making some improvements, but I don't have a timetable on him or [Gabriel Landeskog] or [Colin] Wilson."

Landeskog and Wilson each have lower-body injuries and both last played on Oct. 26. Also not on the ice was Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, but he will be on the trip with the Avs, an encouraging sign for the forward.

Bellemare took a high hit from Nick Foligno with 2:45 left in the second period of Saturday's game against the Columbus Blue Jackets and did not return to the game. The NHL Department of Player Safety suspended Foligno for three games on Monday for what it determined was an illegal play.

"Bellemare is diagnosed with a concussion, so he is going into the protocol," Bednar said on Monday. "But he is feeling a little bit better today than he was the other day, so that's positive.

"Bellemare is coming on the trip, Grubauer is coming on the trip, everyone else is staying back. Doesn't mean that Zadorov or Mikko or any of those guys couldn't join us later on during the trip when they are ready to play. [Avs skills consultant] Shawn [Allard] will be back here working those guys out."

The Avalanche also recalled forward Logan O'Connor and defenseman Kevin Connauton from the American Hockey League's Colorado Eagles on Monday afternoon.

MAKAR NHL'S THIRD STAR OF WEEK

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar was named the NHL's Third Star for the week ending on Nov. 10, the league announced on Monday.

"He has been good and really good in some games," Bednar said of Makar. "To see the numbers that he has put up after maybe not even being at his best through 17 games is incredible."

Makar had six points (three goals, three assists) in three games last week, tied for the most among all defensemen in the league, and helped the Avalanche improve to 10-5-2 on the season.

PRACTICE LINE COMBINATIONS

Joonas Donskoi - Nathan MacKinnon - Matt Calvert
Valeri Nichuschkin - Nazem Kadri - J.T. Compher
Matt Nieto - Tyson Jost - Andre Burakovsky
Jayson Megna - Vladislav Kamenev - T.J. Tynan

Samuel Girard - Erik Johnson
Ryan Graves - Cale Makar
Ian Cole - Mark Barberio
Nikita Zadorov

Pavel Francouz
Adam Werner

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