Grubauer in NHL COVID-19 protocol, Dubnyk may debut for Avalanche

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Philipp Grubauer was placed in NHL COVID-19 protocol on Wednesday and will not play against the St. Louis Blues (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, ALT, NHL.TV).

The Avalanche canceled their morning skate and said a player tested positive for COVID-19 and was in isolation. 

Defenseman Bowen Byram has been in protocol since Friday.

Goalie Devan Dubnyk, acquired in a trade from the San Jose Sharks on Saturday, could make his Avalanche debut Wednesday. 

Grubauer is 25-8-1 with a 2.00 goals-against average, .920 save percentage and five shutouts in 34 games (33 starts) this season. He is tied for the most wins in the NHL with Andrei Vasilevskiy of the Tampa bay Lightning and tied for most shutouts with Marc-Andre Fleury of the Vegas Golden Knights.

Grubauer made 35 saves in a 4-2 win against the Arizona Coyotes on Monday.

With Pavel Francouz having not played this season because of a lower-body injury, Colorado acquired Dubnyk, and Jonas Johansson from the Buffalo Sabres on March 20.   

“I think we’re going to need both those guys,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said Saturday. “It’s a busy schedule going down the stretch. We know we want to give ‘Grubi’ some rest … and heading into the playoffs we want to make sure he’s rested and healthy. He’s obviously our No. 1 and the goalie depth is real important.”

Johansson is 3-0-1 with a 1.87 GAA and .929 save percentage in five games (four starts) since the trade, including his first NHL shutout in a 2-0 win at the Anaheim Ducks on Friday.

Dubnyk is 3-9-2 with a 3.18 GAA, .898 save percentage and one shutout in 17 games (13 starts) with San Jose this season.

Last season, Grubauer and Francouz was each injured in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Michael Hutchinson, their third-string goalie, started the final three games of a seven-game loss to the Dallas Stars in the Western Conference Second Round.

“We saw last year how important goalie depth is in the playoffs, actually over the last few years,” Bednar said. “And to be able to acquire the two guys we’ve acquired here recently I think it just makes our team deeper and stronger.”

Colorado (29-9-4) is first in the Honda West Division, four points ahead of the Vegas Golden Knights. The top four teams will qualify for the playoffs.

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