Barrie Ready If Johnson Can't Play vs. Hurricanes

Injured Johnson wants to play but will be a game-time decision

Friday, 10.25.2013 / 3:36 PM
Ron Knabenbauer

Erik Johnson appears to be feeling better after injuring his foot earlier in the week and could play in tonight's game against the Carolina Hurricanes.

The defenseman missed Thursday's practice with a foot injury after a puck hit him during Wednesday's drills. Johnson, who had to be helped off the ice with Colorado head athletic trainer Matt Sokolowski, met with team doctors later in the day, with results on the injury coming back negative.

Avs head coach Patrick Roy said Thursday that Johnson was listed as day-to-day but was "doubtful" to play in Friday's contest.

However, the 6-foot-4, 232-pound blue liner took part in the team's morning skate today, and Roy said Johnson wants to play this evening, but it's going to be a game-time decision.

"He wants to give it a try tonight. We'll know more at game time," Roy said. "Like I said to him, 'I know you want to play,' but if he isn't 100 percent, I would rather have him [sit out]."

If Johnson won't be able to play, Roy said Tyson Barrie would be inserted into the lineup.

It would be Barrie's first game since Oct. 10 at Boston. He has been a healthy scratch in the Avalanche's last five games mainly because Roy doesn't want to tinker with the lineup while the club is winning and having success.

"I'm really excited," said Barrie of possibly playing tonight. "I'll be ready if I do get the call and hopefully I do."

If Barrie plays, Roy said he would be paired with Ryan Wilson on defense while Jan Hejda will play with Nate Guenin, and Andre Benoit will continue to play with Cory Sarich.

Barrie has been in and out of the lineup plenty over the past three seasons, and he said one of the biggest things in dealing with it is to stay positive and continue to work hard.

"It's always tough when you're not playing," Barrie said. "I've done it for the last few years now. It's been frustrating, but you just have to stay positive. [The coaches] were telling me just stay patient and be ready, and that's what I've been trying to do: work hard and try and get better in practice for when the game does come around, I'll be ready."

AVALANCHE SPOTLIGHT ON: GABRIEL LANDESKOG

Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog is starting to heat up on the scoresheet as he's scored in each of the past three games. The winger's three-game goal streak is one shy of his career-long, which was set last season (March 14-20, 2013).

After having no points in his first three contests this season, Landeskog now has six points (three goals, three assists) in his last five games. He is tied for the team lead in shots with 26, and his three goals are tied for second on the squad.

Landeskog scored the game winner Monday against Pittsburgh. Seconds after leaving the penalty box, he received a pass from Ryan Wilson at center ice and moved his way into the Penguins' zone before shooting the puck between a defenseman's legs and past the Pittsburgh netminder.

He will look to continue the scoring trend tonight against Carolina. Landeskog scored in the only game he has played against the Hurricanes (Feb. 10, 2012).

MORE MORNING NOTES

-Semyon Varlamov is expected to get the start in goal tonight for the Avalanche. He will also likely play Sunday against Winnipeg, but Roy hasn't committed to a starter for that game yet.

-Marc-Andre Cliche will play in his third consecutive game as he replaces Cody McLeod in the lineup.

-At 8-1-0, the Avs have equaled their best start through nine games in franchise history. The Nordiques also went 8-1-0 in their first nine games of the 1994-95 season, while the Avalanche recorded 16 points (7-0-2) through their opening nine contests in 2000-01. Both the '94-95 and 2000-01 teams won their 10th contest so the Avalanche will need a victory tonight to match the best 10-game start ever.

-Tonight is the first of two meetings between the Avalanche and Hurricanes this year. They'll play again, in just a few weeks, on Nov. 12 in Raleigh, N.C.

-The last time Colorado and Carolina met was Feb. 10, 2012 here at Pepsi Center, a 4-3 Avs overtime victory.

-All-time, the Avalanche/Nordiques are 69-43-22 against the Hurricanes/Whalers, which is their most wins against any NHL franchise.

-The Avs are 14-4-4 versus the Hurricanes since moving to Denver in 1995.

-Colorado has won eight straight home games against Carolina and is 8-0-2 (8 wins, 2 ties) in its last 10 home games vs. the Canes.

-The last time Carolina won a game in Denver they were the Hartford Whalers on Feb. 9, 1996, and the game was played at McNichols Sports Arena.

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