Avalanche's Erik Johnson will return vs. Chicago Blackhawks
Erik Johnson will make his return to the Avalanche on Friday night as the team tries again to stop the Chicago Blackhawks' record-setting start to an NHL season.
The defenseman, out recently with a concussion, will skate a regular shift for the Avs in what will be a sold-out game at the Pepsi Center.
"It's great to be back, and it was very frustrating being out," Johnson said. "With concussions, though, you have to be careful and I feel good again."
To make room for Johnson, the Avs will scratch Tyson Barrie from the defensive rotation.
"He's had a drop off in play the last two games," Avs coach Joe Sacco said in explaining the decision. "He needs to be more responsible in his own zone. Hopefully, it won't be long and it'll give him a breather and a good chance to see the game from a different angle tonight."
Johnson was close to returning on the Avs' most recent road trip, but wasn't quite there yet. Not quite there yet, still, is Avs defenseman Ryan Wilson, out since Feb. 2 with an ankle injury. Wilson could return Sunday depending how he feels after practice Saturday.
Semyon Varlamov will start in goal for the Avs. Corey Crawford will start in goal for the Blackhawks, who are 21-0-3.