CENTENNIAL, Colo.--Center Dominic Toninato will have a chance to play in his first NHL game on Saturday in the Colorado Avalanche's game against the Nashville Predators after the team was affected by another injury.
The Avalanche announced on Friday that the forward was recalled from the San Antonio Rampage of the American Hockey League. Toninato is acting as a reinforcement after fellow rookie forward Vladislav Kamenev suffered a broken arm in the contest against the Washington Capitals on Thursday.
"He is a big strong guy. Works real hard, responsible guy," said Avs head coach Jared Bednar of Toninato. "And down there he is playing in a little bit of a checking role and doing a lot of penalty killing. He is creating chances both on the penalty kill and 5-on-5. He has scored some goals and sort of continued to grow there. So we are going to get him up here and take a look at him in the center position."
Kamenev was making his Avalanche debut after Colorado acquired him from Nashville on Nov. 5 in a three-team trade. The deal also saw young defenseman Samuel Girard go from the Predators to the Avalanche.
Girard met the team in Stockholm, Sweden, for the 2017 SAP NHL Global Series last week and made his first trip to Denver when the team returned home on Sunday. He played his first game at Pepsi Center on Thursday against Washington and registered an assist.
"It was the first time [I had been to Denver]," he said. "I really like the city and the fans a lot. Yesterday, it was fun to play [at Pepsi Center] and to play in front of our fans. It was a good feeling for me yesterday."
The 19-year-old will soon be in a building he is more familiar with as the team will face the Predators at Bridgestone Arena on Saturday.
For Girard, playing against his former club will not change his mindset going into the contest.
"I am not going to put any more pressure because that is my old team," he said. "I am just going to be ready for the game tomorrow, and I am going to play my game. I am going to bring some offense and play good defensively as well."
Video: Samuel Girard adjusting to the Avalanche
Looking at the Predators, defenseman Mark Barberio says the start of the contest will be crucial.
"Our start is going to be key," Barberio said of facing the Predators. "They come out hard in their building, it's a tough building to play in. So for us, making sure we have a good start and just building off what we did against Washington, playing a good offensive game and playing with speed."
The Avalanche came out strong in the 6-2 win over the Capitals on Thursday, scoring just 17 seconds into the contest. It was the first game the team played since returning from Stockholm.
"Obviously, the Sweden trip was different for everybody," Barberio said. "It was new and it was a great experience. But, I think it was good to get back to Denver and get back into the same old routine of playing home games and away games in North America. It's definitely easier on the body."
Video: Mark Barberio on the Avs' recent play
The club has played 17 games this campaign, which is tied for fewest in the league with Carolina, Ottawa and San Jose. However, the team's schedule will soon get more busy as the contest against the Predators on Saturday will be the first of a back-to-back set that also has the club playing in Detroit on Sunday.
"I think it's good for our team. We got to get playing," Bednar said of the two-game road trip. "Especially if we can continue to play to our identity. We got to start taking some baby steps forward here, all of the teams around the league are at this point. The time off, it was a fun trip and it was a good break in the schedule as far as it is something different to look forward to, but it seemed like we were gone a long time.
"Ten days felt like a month and there was a lot of time off in there, a lot of dead time and not a bunch of great practice time. I think that getting back to the normalcy of the schedule is good for us and if that involves travel, so be it."
Video: Jared Bednar before the team's road trip
When Kamenev broke his arm, he joined Anton Lindholm (jaw), Patrik Nemeth (lower body) and Tyson Barrie (upper body) on a list of bruised Avalanche players.
Coach Bednar gave an update after practice on the status of what the return schedule looks like for his injured skaters.
"Nemeth is not even skating yet, so I would say he is week-to-week, not day-to-day, so no timetable on him," he said. "We will have to see when he gets back on the ice and then he will have some work to do to get back up to speed. Lindholm, I think he is going to get reevaluated and we will know more next week as to what kind of timetable. We don't even have one yet on him."
In addition, Tyson Jost was reassigned to San Antonio for a rehabilitation assignment on Thursday after he missed a month of playing time with a lower-body injury.
"We sent him down there for a reason," said Bednar. "We need him to get some minutes and get playing and then we will get him back up here."
Barrie is going on the trip to Nashville and the Detroit Red Wings and could return to the lineup in either of those contests. However, he still took part in Friday's practice wearing a red, non-contact jersey.