DENVER -- The Colorado Avalanche are so ravaged by injuries that they needed to call up an entire line from the Lake Erie Monsters of the American Hockey League in order to have a full lineup against the Carolina Hurricanes at Pepsi Center on Saturday.
Left wing Andrew Agozzino, center Ben Street and right wing Tomas Vincour played together with the Monsters and will do so against the Hurricanes because six of the nine injured Avalanche players are forwards.
"That's what we were all laughing about, all three of us going at once," Street said Saturday morning. "I don't know if that's happened many times before. We're excited. It's nice that we have familiar linemates. Sometimes when you come up you're thrown into a position that you're not used to, with guys you're not used to, and it can take a little bit to get used to. Hopefully we can skip that stage and maybe get going right off the bat."
Right wings Dennis Everberg (separated shoulder) and Alex Tanguay (facial fracture) were injured Thursday in the Avalanche's 3-2 loss to the Washington Capitals, and center John Mitchell sustained a leg injury in practice Friday.
"Our top two lines are still there except for Tanguay," Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said. "Like I said to them, let's not look for excuses here. We have to be ready for [the Hurricanes]. They've been playing better hockey lately."
Agozzino, 23, will make his NHL debut. He has three goals and five assists in 14 games for Lake Erie this season.
Street, 27, was signed as a free agent in July. He spent most of last season with Abbotsford in the AHL and has two assists in 19 career NHL games with the Calgary Flames. The broken hand he sustained in a preseason game in September recently healed and he had one goal and one assist in four games with Lake Erie.
Vincour, 24, hurt his knee in a preseason game in September and has one goal and one assist in three games with Lake Erie. He had six goals and five assists with Kazan in the Kontinental Hockey League last season. Vincour has seven goals and nine assists in 88 NHL games, most of them with the Dallas Stars.
The Hurricanes (6-10-3) split the first two games of their four-game road trip and have lost four of their past five games.
Carolina defenseman John-Michael Liles spent his first seven NHL seasons with the Avalanche and is 15th on the franchise's all-time scoring list with 275 points (68 goals, 207 assists) in 523 games. This will be his first game at Pepsi Center since the Avalanche traded him to the Toronto Maple Leafs on June 24, 2011 in exchange for a second-round pick in the 2012 NHL Draft.
"I'm excited," said Liles, who has three assists in 12 games. "This was a place that's pretty close to my heart. My wife and I make our home here in the summer, so it's nice to be back. I haven't been in this (visiting locker) room before, so it's a little bit of a different view."
Here are the projected lineups:
Jiri Tlusty - Eric Staal - Elias Lindholm
Nathan Gerbe - Riley Nash - Andrej Nestrasil
Jeff Skinner - Victor Rask - Alexander Semin
Brad Malone - Jay McClement - Patrick Dwyer
Andrej Sekera - Justin Faulk
John-Michael Liles - Tim Gleason
Ron Hainsey - Brett Bellemore
Scratched: Zach Boychuk, Jay Harrison, Chris Terry
Injured: Jordan Staal (broken leg)
Ryan O'Reilly - Matt Duchene - Daniel Briere
Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Jarome Iginla
Andrew Agozzino - Ben Street - Tomas Vincour
Cody McLeod - Marc-Andre Cliche - Maxime Talbot
Jan Hejda - Erik Johnson
Nate Guenin - Tyson Barrie
Nick Holden - Zach Redmond
Injured: Patrick Bordeleau (back surgery), Dennis Everberg (separated shoulder), Jamie McGinn (back), John Mitchell (leg), Brad Stuart (hamstring), Alex Tanguay (facial fracture), Ryan Wilson (shoulder surgery), Semyon Varlamov (groin), Jesse Winchester (concussion)
Status report: Nestrasil, who was acquired on waivers Thursday from the Detroit Red Wings, will make his Hurricanes debut and skate on a line with Gerbe and Nash. Varlamov, who will miss his second consecutive game, and Tanguay are day-to-day and might be available Tuesday against the Arizona Coyotes.
Who's hot: Staal has three goals and one assist in his past two games... Skinner has two goals and one assist in his past two games... Barrie has one goal and three assists in his past three games.