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Avalanche facing injury again, recall Hishon

by Dan Myers

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Colorado Avalanche have overcome a number of injuries to crucial players all season. Now, in a Western Conference First Round series against the Minnesota Wild, the Central Division champions will have to do it again.

The Avalanche will be without defenseman Tyson Barrie for the remainder of the series and beyond after a knee-to-knee hit from Wild forward Matt Cooke in Game 3 on Monday. Barrie is expected to be sidelined 4-6 weeks.

Game 4 is Thursday at Xcel Energy Center (9:30 p.m. ET; CNBC, TSN2, RDS2, ALT, FS-N, FS-WI).

A little more than two minutes into the second period of a scoreless game, Cooke tried to finish an open-ice check on Barrie near the Wild bench. Their left knees collided and Barrie remained on the ice for a short time. He got to the bench on his own, but was not able to put weight on the leg as he skated off, then went down the tunnel to the locker room.

Minnesota won, 1-0 in overtime, and trails the best-of-7 series 2-1.

Barrie's loss is a big one for the Avalanche, already playing without forwards Matt Duchene (knee) and John Mitchell (concussion).

"Without a doubt, an important player to our team," Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said. "He's very good on the power play, but more than that, he's always in the rush."

Barrie has had a breakout year for the Avalanche in his first full NHL season. He skated in 64 games during the regular season, scoring 13 goals and adding 25 assists. He was also a plus-17. He assisted on two goals in a 5-4 overtime win in Game 1.

"He was playing so well for us. And losing him is certainly going to hurt us," Roy said. "This is what we've been doing all year, finding a way to win when we lose an important player. And when we lost Matt Duchene, everyone thought we were going to struggle and our guys picked it up and found a way to win. It's not a time of year where you want to feel sorry for yourself."

Barrie's spot on the blue line will be filled by Ryan Wilson, who played 28 games for Colorado this season and had six assists. Wilson plays a more physical style but doesn't contribute offensively like Barrie, especially on the power play.

"[Barrie is] like a fourth forward for us. You need players like that," Roy said. "[Wilson] has been in the League long enough. He knows his role on our team. I'm sure he's going to bring his game to a good level to play a solid game, not replace Tyson."

Without Barrie, who plays the point on Colorado's top power play unit, Roy said the Avalanche will have to simplify and try to get more shots at the Minnesota net.

"I'm not saying we're going to change a lot of things, but we have options," Roy said. "We have to put more pucks on net, that's the thing we haven't done."

One of the options Roy mentioned was putting forward Joey Hishon on the power play. Hishon was recalled from the Lake Erie Monsters of the American Hockey League on Tuesday and Roy said he could make his NHL debut in Game 4.

"He's been playing really well on the power play in the minors. He's a guy that could also step in," Roy said.

Hishon, the 17th selection in the 2010 NHL Draft, scored 10 goals and 24 points in 50 games with the Monsters this season.

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