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After 11-game absence, Johnson (concussion) returns to Avs lineup

Florida Panthers v Colorado Avalanche

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 18: Erik Johnson #6 of the Colorado Avalanche takes a shot against the Florida Panthers at the Pepsi Center on January 18, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. The Colorado Avalanche defeated the Florida Panthers 4-3 in overtime. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

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The Colorado blueline will get a boost this evening in trying to stop the Blackhawks as Erik Johnson will suit up for the first time in 11 games, according to Adrian Dater of the Denver Post.

The former No. 1 overall pick hasn’t played since a 3-2 OT loss to Phoenix on Feb. 11, during which he was concussed on a hit by Coyotes forward Martin Hanzal.

Johnson, 24, received medical clearance earlier this week and was activated from injured reserve yesterday.

His return will be a welcome one for Colorado.

Johnson led all Avs defensemen in scoring a year ago, with 26 points, and was averaging over 21 minutes per game prior to getting hurt.

The 6-foot-4, 230 pound rearguard will reportedly replace Tyson Barrie in the lineup.