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Nathan MacKinnon suffers upper-body injury Monday vs. Flyers

Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon sustained injury in the first period Monday vs. the Flyers and was unable to return. We break down the impact.

Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche looks on during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center on December 01, 2022 in Buffalo, New York. Photo by Joshua Bessex/Getty Images

Update, third period — The Avalanche have finally announced that MacKinnon won’t return to the game due to an upper-body injury. We’ll need to wait for an update to see if it’s nothing serious or if MacKinnon will miss time. If MacKinnon is going to miss time, the Avalanche could be in a very tough spot down four of their top forwards. Nichushkin, Gabriel Landeskog and Lehkonen are all sidelined.

Update, second period — MacKinnon still isn’t on the bench as the second period is underway and the Flyers have taken a 3-1 lead. This is worst-case scenario for the Avalanche.

The Avs still haven’t provided an update on MacKinnon. He appeared to suffer some type of injury on a check near the boards. MacKinnon took his shift and shot the puck, appearing to wince afterwards. He was seen uncomfortable on the bench before going to the room.

Colorado Avalanche C Nathan MacKinnon was forced to go to the locker room in the first period of Monday’s game vs. the Philadelphia Flyers. There’s only speculation as to when MacKinnon was injured, but it may have happened on a shot from the point or hit from a Flyers player. After going out for another shift, MacKinnon returned to the bench again before going back to the room.

MacKinnon already got another point on Monday night, an assist on a goal from Alex Newhook which gave the Avalanche a 1-0 lead. The Flyers would go on to tie the game 1-1 on a Travis Sanheim goal.

The Avalanche really can’t afford to lose anyone else, let alone their best player in MacKinnon. Artturi Lehkonen just went down with an injury and is out Monday vs. Philly. Valeri Nichushkin has been sidelined for a while now. The Avalanche were already top-heavy and lacking forward depth. It’s forced players like Logan O’Connor, Andrew Cogliano and Charles Hudon to skate in the top six Monday. The Avs decided to split up Mikko Rantanen and MacKinnon vs. the Flyers to balance the lines a bit.

If MacKinnon is unable to return, we should see more Newhook and JT Compher at center to compensate. Alex Galchenyuk is down on the fourth line but he has some experience at center and has played in the top six in the past in his career.

The Flyers are hovering around -140 and -150 on the moneyline, which isn’t as valuable as you’d think. The Avs can still win this game but it’s going to be tough if MacKinnon ends up being out. Philly has also been among the worst teams in the NHL lately. Colorado is still getting decent scoring chances.