Colorado Avalanche defenseman Nikita Zadorov has suffered a concussion, the team announced Saturday.
It occurred during Friday’s loss to the Washington Capitals when he was on the receiving end of a major hit from Tom Wilson.
While bringing the puck around the net for a breakout pass, Zadorov was given one of the biggest clean hits of the season by Wilson, who had been streaking into the attacking coming off a change. Wilson was not assessed a penalty and Zadorov had to be helped off the ice. He did not return to the game.
While Zadorov, a part of the Ryan O’Reilly trade with the Buffalo Sabres, only played 19 games this season, his loss will matter for the Avalanche. They’re struggling to show any fire through the season’s final games and could be eliminated entirely during Sunday’s play.
They’ve also been struggling with injuries at a crucial point of the season. The biggest have been the momentary loss of Matt Duchene and the ongoing absence of Nathan MacKinnon, but any loss on their porous blue line hurts. They’re currently without Eric Gelinas, part of the reason Zadorov was up, and now they’re without him as well.
The Avalanche can be eliminated from playoff contention on Sunday with a loss and a Minnesota Wild win.