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Barrie To Miss First Game Of The Season

The defenseman is out with an upper-body injury; Nikita Zadorov back in

by Ron Knabenbauer @RonKnab / ColoradoAvalanche.com

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie will miss his first game of the season this evening with an upper-body injury and will be replaced in the lineup for the contest versus the Washington Capitals by rear guard Nikita Zadorov.

Head coach Jared Bednar said Barrie is day-to-day and expects the blueliner to be on the club's road trip this weekend for a back-to-back set at Nashville and Detroit.

Barrie, who is second on the team in scoring with 14 points, only took part in a portion of the Avs' practice on Wednesday and Thursday morning, wearing a red, non-contact jersey during the skate.

"He feels better today," Bednar said. "I'm not sure exactly at what point he hurt it. It's been bugging him a little bit. He was pretty sore yesterday, better today. He'll be a guy that should come on the road trip with us and play this weekend, but it is too early to tell just yet. See how he looks tomorrow morning."

This will be the first game that Barrie has missed since Feb. 4-11 of last season when he was out for four contests with a lower-body injury.

Barrie's absence opens the door for a return by Zadorov, who was a healthy scratch in Colorado's last game on Saturday against the Ottawa Senators in Stockholm, Sweden. Zadorov has been in and out of the lineup over the last three weeks; he was a scratched for three consecutive outings from Oct. 27-Nov. 2 but returned to game action for three-straight contests before his most recent scratch.

"I'm excited to get him back in. I think he's coming along here for us. I think the consistency part of it is something he's working on, but he's been working hard off the ice," Bednar said of Zadorov. "I like his attitude and mindset coming into tonight's game. We'll see how he does. We got healthy up front, and now we've lost some defensemen so it's a real good opportunity for him to go in and earn his spot."

The Avalanche's other D-men on the mend are Anton Lindholm (jaw) and Patrik Nemeth (lower body). Lindholm skated before today's morning skate session in a non-contact jersey.

Video: Jared Bednar before hosting the Capitals

Colorado's forward line combinations will remain the same as the club practiced in on Wednesday.

Bednar will put three players that could play center on one of the groups, with Colin Wilson and J.T. Compher flanking Alexander Kerfoot, who will be the primary pivot of the line.

"Throughout our lineup, we have a couple guys that we want to try and jumpstart offensively. One of them would be Compher getting back in the lineup," Bednar said. "He's played two games now. Wilson is another guy, we've really liked what we've seen from him here. He missed some time with injury, but he played in Sweden and we want to get him going. Kerfoot has been playing real well, so we're pairing those two wingers with Kerfoot today."

Video: Alexander Kerfoot discusses his rookie success

Compher (hand) and Wilson (hip) both returned to action in last Friday's contest versus Ottawa in Sweden after missing three weeks of action. Luckily for the forwards, they only missed six games and have had three, four-day breaks between contests to help them recover.

"I guess it happened at a good part of the schedule where I got some extra time to rest it and make sure it's ready," Compher said of his hand. "The extra days have been really helpful, and I should be ready to go tonight."

That line has a mix of players that can produce offensively while also being solid defensively.

"I think it is a positive for our line, for sure," Compher said of the trio's two-way game. "You want to be able to play at any end of the ice so the coaches are comfortable putting you out there. I think us three guys can do that."

Video: J.T. Compher before the Avs host the Capitals

Another new line combination that was formed on Wednesday saw newcomer Vladislav Kamenev center wingers Sven Andrighetto and Nail Yakupov.

The rookie Kamenev, who was acquired in a three-team trade from the Nashville Predators on Nov. 5, will be making his Avalanche debut this evening. Bednar has placed his young players in the best spots to succeed early in the season, and that trend will continue with the Russian forward playing with two veterans with offensive upside.

"Kamenev is a responsible, defensive player. He has got good skill as he's shown in the American league," Bednar said. "It's a good opportunity for him to come in and play center. He's a natural center and being a real responsible, smart player defensively. He can help those two guys a little bit, and hopefully too with Yak, being another Russian guy that can communicate a little more with him."

The Avs' top scoring line of center Nathan MacKinnon, left wing Gabriel Landeskog and right wing Mikko Rantanen will remain intact. Colorado's other forward trio of center Carl Soderberg and wingers Blake Comeau and Matt Nieto will be reassembled after Soderberg missed the last two games awaiting the birth of the family's third child, a baby boy.

JOST SENT DOWN

Head coach Jared Bednar revealed after morning skate that the Avs will reassign rookie forward Tyson Jost to the San Antonio Rampage of the American Hockey League.

The move is made to give Jost more playing time after missing a month's worth of contests with a lower-body injury.

"It is a lot of time to be out and just jump back in, and we feel like we want to put him in a situation to succeed when he comes back." Bednar said of Jost. "It is a good opportunity to go down, they have a busy schedule coming up here. Go down and get some games in and get his feet underneath him and get used to the 5-on-5 situations, a little bit more time and space. We're excited that he can go down there, and then we'll bring him up."

Jost has only played six games this season, as he's battled various ailments and hasn't been able to fully get in a rhythm in practices or games. He missed time during training camp with a groin injury and missed two contests after hurting his knee on Oct. 11. The center last played Oct. 19 against the St. Louis Blues.

Bednar didn't say exactly how long Jost will play in the AHL, but it seems it will be at least 11 days. Bednar noted that the Rampage play five games in that period, giving the 19-year-old a chance to play big minutes and in key situations.

"He'll probably get time on the power play, penalty kill, play on a good line that eats lots of minutes down there, and they have a busy schedule," Bednar said. "Instead of coming into our lineup and having a lesser role, I think it sets him up to comeback and be ready to go."

This will be Jost's first-ever stint in the AHL. He finished last season with the Avalanche after signing a three-year, entry-level contract in March following his freshman campaign at the University of North Dakota and made the club's NHL roster for opening night this year.

PROJECTED LINEUP

Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Mikko Rantanen
Colin Wilson - Alexander Kerfoot - J.T. Compher
Matt Nieto - Carl Soderberg - Blake Comeau
Sven Andrighetto - Vladislav Kamenev - Nail Yakupov

Samuel Girard - Erik Johnson
Chris Bigras and/or Mark Barberio and/or Nikita Zadorov and/or Andrei Mironov

Semyon Varlamov
Jonathan Bernier

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