GLENDALE, Ariz. — Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie blocked a shot with his hand on his third shift Saturday and did not return to the game against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena. Barrie, who played just 2:39, could be out long-term after stepping into a shot from Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson.
“He broke his finger/hand,” Avs coach Jared Bednar said of Barrie after the game. “I haven’t got the lowdown on it yet but he has a fracture in his hand.”
The Avs begin the three-day Christmas break Sunday and don’t play against until hosting Arizona on Wednesday.
EJ back. Defenseman Erik Johnson returned from a two-game NHL suspension and replaced rookie Anton Lindholm. Johnson started on the first pairing with Nikita Zadorov.
Before Johnson’s suspension, the Avs were going with seven defensemen and 11 forwards but have now returned to the tradition six and 12.
Johnson logged 22:46, despite serving nine minutes of penalties in the chippy game.
No intent to fight. Avs rookie defenseman Sam Girard, 19, was punched in the side of the face by Arizona’s Zac Rinaldo in what started a melee midway though the second period. Girard, who is listed at 5-foot-10 and 162 pounds, said he had no interest in fighting the 5-10, 192-pound Rinaldo, who is known as a skilled middleweight fighter.
“No. It’s not my job,” said Girard, who skated up to Rinaldo after he delivered a big center-ice hit on Nathan MacKinnon. “I didn’t say anything. He punched me. I’m fine.”
Footnotes. The Avs were 5-of-5 in penalty killing and are now a perfect 23-of-23 in their last eight games. … The Coyotes played Friday night at home, scoring in the final minute of regulation to tie it 2-2 and winning 3-2 in overtime.