The Colorado Avalanche will have to push for the playoffs without captain Gabriel Landeskog.
The forward is expected to miss 4-to-6 weeks with an upper-body injury, suffered Thursday in a 4-0 loss to Dallas, likely meaning his potential return would be during the postseason if the Avalanche were to rally to make the playoffs.
“It’s a huge loss for our team,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said after practice Friday. “That’s the second forward we’ve lost for the remainder of the regular season. Both are impact guys. It’s going to be a great opportunity for some guys.”
Matt Nieto (lower-body injury) has been out for a couple of weeks and is also likely to be sidelined for at least the remainder of the regular season.
Landeskog is the team’s second-leading goal scorer with 33 (one behind linemate Nathan MacKinnon) and is third with 69 points.
He left the loss in Dallas midway through the third period and didn’t return after he got tangled up with Stars goaltender Ben Bishop.
“I was right behind him when it happened,” said Colorado forward Mikko Rantanen, Landeskog’s other linemate. “I think Bishop kind of tackled him behind the net, and that’s where he got hurt.”
Colorado (29-27-12) plays host to Buffalo on Saturday. After Thursday’s loss, the Avalanche trailed Minnesota by four points in the chase for the final wild card spot in the Western Conference.