Avalanche’s MacKinnon knocked out of game vs. Sharks after high hit

Nathan MacKinnon would be slow to get up after this dangerous hit to the head from Joachim Blichfeld.

The Colorado Avalanche earned the win Wednesday night, but suffered a potentially key loss in the process.

Taking on the San Jose Sharks for the second time in as many games, the Avalanche emerged from the tilt with a 4-0 win but saw their marquee scorer, Nathan MacKinnon, targeted with a dangerous hit that left the centreman slow to get up, and eventually helped off the ice where he’d remain for the rest of the night.

The incident in question occurred eight minutes into the third period, when San Jose’s Joachim Blichfeld caught an unsuspecting MacKinnon with a check as the latter was turning, Blichfeld’s shoulder appearing to clip MacKinnon’s head.

The Avalanche pivot stayed down for some time, kneeling over and appearing to try and collect himself, while a scrum ensured around Blichfeld.

The Sharks winger was handed a match penalty, after which Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog tallied his club’s third goal of the night on the power play.

“I think our team responded well to it,” said Avalanche defender Devon Toews in a post-game interview with Altitude TV. “I don’t think we liked the hit very much. And guys stepping in to protect a teammate is what we want. You know, we need that [aggression] from our team, in order to step in when things like that happen. Our response to it, I think, was pretty good.”

After the game, Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar suggested his club might’ve avoided a worst-case scenario.

“He seems to be doing good. I think we get lucky on it,” he said, according to The Athletic’s Peter Baugh. “…As of right now he seems to be fine.”

The Avalanche play next on Friday, taking on the Anaheim Ducks to kick off a nine-game home stand that’ll see them also face Arizona, Los Angeles and Minnesota.

MacKinnon is currently tied for the team lead in scoring, his 22 points sitting level with winger Mikko Rantanen.

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