Makar out for Avalanche against Golden Knights with upper-body injury

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LAS VEGAS — Cale Makar will not play for the Colorado Avalanche when they visit the Vegas Golden Knights on Sunday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN).

The defenseman is day to day with an upper-body injury. Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said he’s unsure when the injury occurred.

Makar, who won the Calder Trophy voted as the top rookie in the NHL last season, is second on the Avalanche with 12 points (one goal, 11 assists) in 11 games.

Colorado will be playing its first game since Feb. 2 due to NHL COVID-19 protocols. It was 4-0-1 before having five games postponed: one against the Minnesota Wild, two against the St. Louis Blues and two against the Arizona Coyotes.

At the time of their first postponement, Makar led NHL defensemen in scoring. He is now tied for fourth.

Colorado forwards Gabriel Landeskog and Tyson Jost, and defenseman Samuel Girard remain in COVID-19 protocol. Girard’s streak of 231 consecutive regular-season games played will end.

Nathan MacKinnon, who missed one game with a lower-body injury, returns and will be the center on the top line with Mikko Rantanen and Brandon Saad. MacKinnon leads Colorado with 14 points (two goals, 12 assists) in 10 games.

“I feel really, really good coming back,” MacKinnon said Saturday. “I’m excited to start to go play and get into a rhythm here and start playing every other day again.”

Defenseman Devon Toews returns after missing three games with a lower-body injury and will take Makar’s spot on the top pair, skating with rookie Bowen Byram. Toews scored five points (three goals, two assists) in eight games before being placed on injured reserve.

Pierre-Edouard Bellemare will also be back in the lineup after missing the past three games with an undisclosed injury. The forward, who played for the Golden Knights from 2017-19, has zero points in eight games this season.

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