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Avalanche forward Jonathan Drouin out with lower-body injury for playoff series against Winnipeg

NHL: Colorado Avalanche at Minnesota Wild

Apr 4, 2024; Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA; Colorado Avalanche left wing Jonathan Drouin (27) shoots all alone in the Minnesota Wild zone in the first period at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Matt Blewett-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Blewett-USA TODAY Sports

DENVER — The Colorado Avalanche will be without forward Jonathan Drouin for their first-round playoff series against Winnipeg due to a lower-body injury.

Drouin got hurt when he tripped in the second period Thursday against Edmonton. He skated off and didn’t return.

The Avalanche practiced Saturday morning before leaving for Winnipeg. Game 1 of the series is Sunday.

The 29-year-old Drouin turned in a career season with 56 points (19 goals, 37 assists) after signing with Colorado as a free agent over the summer.

Drouin was typically on the same line as Mikko Rantanen and his good friend Nathan MacKinnon, who had a career-best 140 points this season.

“Super unfortunate. I feel really bad for him,” MacKinnon said. “I know he’s crushed right now. He’s been building all season for this. We can’t replace him.

“Obviously, it sucks for the team, but for him as a person, it’s just so sad. Hopefully we get him back sooner than later.”

The third overall pick by Tampa Bay in 2013, Drouin has played in 564 career regular-season games, with 96 goals.

“That’s a tough one for us,” forward Zach Parise said. “He’s had a great season. He’s had some really good chemistry with those guys on the 5-on-5 and on the power play. We have to as a group pick up the slack.”

Parise was on a line with MacKinnon and Rantanen for Saturday’s practice. Coach Jared Bednar declined to confirm if the lines on the ice were an indicator of how the lineup might be against the Jets.

“I’m not going to give you that,” Bednar said.

Defenseman Devon Toews missed practice to be with his wife, who gave birth to a baby boy Friday. The family was bringing the baby home from the hospital, but he was expected to join the team for the flight.

Fellow defenseman Samuel Girard skated with the team as he progresses through concussion protocol. Bednar said he didn’t have an answer yet if Girard would play Sunday.

Girard left in the first period of last Saturday’s 7-0 loss to Winnipeg following a collision with teammate Ross Colton.

Captain Gabriel Landeskog joined the team on the ice and meandered around chatting with teammates. Bednar recently said Landeskog wasn’t close to being a full participant in practice. The 31-year-old Landeskog had cartilage replacement surgery on his right knee last May and is missing a second straight season.

Colorado called up defenseman Brad Hunt, forward Chris Wagner and goaltender Arvid Holm on Saturday from the Colorado Eagles of the American Hockey League.