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Makar is set for his NHL debut; Girard out with upper-body injury

April 15, 2019, 5:46 PM ET [10 Comments]
Rick Sadowski
Colorado Avalanche Blogger •Avalanche Insider • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Newly-signed defenseman Cale Makar will make his NHL debut Monday when the Avalanche play Calgary at the Pepsi Center in Game 3 of their first-round playoff series, which is tied 1-1.


The Hobey Baker Award winner and former University of Massachusetts star signed a three-year, entry-level contract Sunday. It will pay him $925,000 per year with an annual $92,500 signing bonus, according to capfriendly.com.

Makar arrived in Denver Sunday night and took part in the Monday morning skate. He’ll wear sweater No. 8 and be paired with Patrik Nemeth at the start, but coach Jared Bednar said he'd probably move him around.

You can read all about him in my MAKAR STORY.

Defenseman Samuel Girard didn’t skate and won’t play because of an upper-body injury – likely a shoulder – he sustained in Game 2 on a hit by Calgary forward Sam Bennett. Bednar said Girard is day-to-day.

Ian Cole will replace Girard on the top pair with Erik Johnson. The Nikita Zadorov-Tyson Barrie pair remains.

“It’s tough losing ‘G.’ I’ve played with him all year,” Johnson said. “I’ve played every game with him, so it’s going to be weird, but we’re looking forward to seeing what Cale can do for us.”

(All times MT)
G1 Calgary 4, Avalanche 0
G2 Avalanche 3,Calgary 2 (OT)
G3 Mon, 8 p.m. Pepsi Center
G4 Wed, 8 p.m. Pepsi Center
*G5 Fri, TBD at Calgary
*G6 Sun, April 21, TBD at Pepsi Center
*G7 Tue, April 23, TBD at Calgary
* If necessary

The Avalanche are hoping to get a boost from the home crowd. They won the final six regular-season games at the Pepsi Center.

“The biggest advantage to us is our crowd, our fans, and the excitement our guys get,” Bednar said. “We love playing here. We started to get some momentum at home at the end of the year. To me, that’s a big advantage. When our guys get excited to come play and they’re loose and enjoying the game, I feel we’re a better team. Hopefully that helps us tonight.”

The lineup:

Gabriel Landeskog -- Nathan MacKinnon -- Alexander Kerfoot
Colin Wilson -- Carl Soderberg -- Mikko Rantanen
Matt Nieto -- Derick Brassard -- Matt Calvert
Gabriel Bourque -- Tyson Jost -- J.T. Compher

Ian Cole -- Erik Johnson
Nikita Zadorov -- Tyson Barrie
Patrik Nemeth -- Cale Makar

Philipp Grubauer
Semyon Varlamov

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