Avalanche playoff hopes take a hit as Semyon Varlamov, Erik Johnson out for long term

Varlamov is done for the season and Johnson will miss six weeks, the team said Saturday.

Even if the Avalanche manage to squeeze into the playoffs in the final week of the regular season, Colorado will be without its starting goaltender the rest of the way.

Semyon Varlamov will miss the rest of the season with a lower-body injury, the team announced Saturday, adding that defenseman Erik Johnson will miss six weeks with a fractured patella.

Varlamov, who has started 22 of Colorado's last 24 games, was injured in garbage time of a 5-0 win over the Blackhawks on Friday when Tomas Jurco slid into him.

Jonathan Bernier came on to finish off the shutout and figures to get the call in net going forward, but he may not be at full strength yet after missing time with an infection that sent him to the hospital.

Johnson, meanwhile, was a late scratch Friday for unspecified reasons. He had returned to the Avalanche lineup less than two weeks earlier after missing 13 games with a shoulder injury.

It's all bad news for Colorado, which is neck-and-neck with St. Louis for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference with four games to go. Both teams have 92 points entering Saturday's games.