The Colorado Avalanche have points in nine of their last ten games and have climbed back into playoff position. Now, they’ll get even stronger as they bring back one of their top defenseman. NHL.com’s Callie Parmele writes that Erik Johnson has been activated from the injured reserve and is set to return to the lineup today against the Detroit Red Wings.
Johnson, who has struggled with injuries throughout his career, was most recently sidelined with an undisclosed upper-body injury. He was placed on IR back on February 19th and has missed Colorado’s past 13 games. Fortunately, the Avs went 7-2-4 in that span and now Johnson’s return could vault them into a playoff spot.
As it stands, Colorado holds the first wild card berth in the Western Conference with 84 points in 71 games. The Dallas Stars and Anaheim Ducks also have 84 points, but the Avalanche have a game in-hand on both. With Johnson back in the lineup, potentially resuming his play on the top pair with Nikita Zadorov or, as Parmele suggests, possibly taking on a new role, maybe with Patrik Nemeth, the Avs will solidify their back end and could hold off those seeking to take away their postseason chances. Colorado faces the Los Angeles Kings, Philadelphia Flyers, and the Vegas Golden Knights twice in their next six games so Johnson’s impact, and the Avs’ ability to fight for their playoff lives, will be on display.