As Avalanche limp down the home stretch, a small army looks to replace Erik Johnson

Dec 18, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Avalanche defenseman Patrik Nemeth (12) pushes Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Tom Kuhnhackl (34) in the third period at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Avalanche will be making a hard charge at the playoffs in the final stretch of the season, but will do so with a noticeable limp.

Erik Johnson‘s injury has certainly set the Avalanche back, but as the final stretch of the season approaches, play from their depth to fill the void with crucial ice time will be key.

Avalanche on the Record podcast host Bruce Pape spoke with some of those players: Sam Girard, Patrik Nemeth and Duncan Siemens.

“We need to find a way to play with every guy,” Girard said. “We need to find a way to have a short shift and to play good, too.”

Nemeth said that getting the job done is the bottom line. “We just have to get the job done. It happens to all teams, we just have to figure it out. It’s a lot of points to grab [and] there’s no reason to panic, but we need to start to try to get a streak going to collect some points.”

Nemeth continued, explaining that what the Avs need right now is consistency. “I think it’s been a little bit up and down, we haven’t been able to put in a full sixty-minute effort. I think we’ve been playing pretty good some periods, but we haven’t been able to put in sixty minutes, and I think it’s been hurting us. We have to find a way to do that.”

The Avalanche will also turn to Duncan Siemens, their former 2011 first-round pick, to provide depth With fewer than 30 games left, Siemens says there are big holes to fill, but he won’t trying to fill them — rather, he’ll simply just play his game in their roles.

“It’s just about going out there and playing my game, not trying to fill a void that they left,” Siemens said.

“It’s next to impossible to replace a guy like E.J. (Erik Johnson)… so it’s just sticking to my strength, keeping it simple, being physical, bringing a little bit of an edge — and that’s when I’m at my best.”

Click here to listen to the full interview with Sam Girard, Patrik Nemeth and Duncan Siemens, including what they had to say about the stretch run for the playoffs and more, or listen to the podcast below.

Click here to listen to past episodes of the Avalanche on the Record podcast and access the archived vault.

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