The Avalanche injury problem is snowballing.
Forward Mikko Rantanen suffered an apparent shoulder injury Monday night in Colorado’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Lightning and is expected to miss “weeks,” coach Jared Bednar told reporters. It resulted from a tripping penalty late in the second period on Tampa Bay defenseman Erik Cernak, sending Rantanen crashing into the boards.
Rantanen was in pain and clearly favored his left shoulder as he exited the Pepsi Center ice toward the tunnel for treatment. Colorado designated it as an upper-body injury, and Rantanen was ruled out for a return to play.
Rantanen joins a growing list of injured Avalanche players: goalie Philipp Grubauer (day to day), forward Matt Calvert (week to week), forward Nazem Kadri (week to week) and forward Colin Wilson (indefinite).
“Other guys have to step up,” Bednar said. “It’s a great opportunity. We have to find a way to carve out wins like we did earlier in the year. It’s going to get tougher and tougher, but hopefully, we can get those guys healthy and back to joining our team as soon as possible. Guys are going to get opportunities and call-ups. … Guys that have been here and are wanting more ice time, we’ll see what they’ve got.”
Rantanen previously missed 16 games this season in October-November with an ankle injury. He has recorded 41 points (19 goals) over 42 games played this season. On Monday night, Rantanen assisted on Colorado’s opening goal to forward Andre Burakovsky.
The Avalanche (33-18-7) host the New York Islanders (33-19-6) on Wednesday to complete a five-game homestand. Colorado is 1-3-0 over its prior four games.