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Morning Flurries: MacKinnon back, Johnson out

The Avalanche lost a game and a player while gaining back another

NHL: Edmonton Oilers at Colorado Avalanche Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

It seemed like Sunday was going to be THE day for the Colorado Avalanche.

They started off the day with the return of Nathan MacKinnon, and did so with Semyon Varlamov - who has been the better of the team’s two goaltenders since his return from injury - starting a game that served as the back half of a back-to-back for the hapless Edmonton Oilers.

It should have been a perfect day, and then reality hit.

MacKinnon made his return, but the team almost immediately lost someone else, as Erik Johnson would leave mid-game with an injury and fail to return. The hope is that he won’t be out for too long, but expect multiple games at the very least.

Things were going so well for him this year, too.

The team also fell to the Oilers, who earned the distinction the night before of being the first team Antti Raanta would shut out this season as a member of the Arizona Coyotes. It was only the team’s second time to shut someone out this season, and the Oilers were then headed on the road to play Sunday’s afternoon game - with the same goaltender from the night before, to boot.

Not a great look, all things considered. [Mile High Hockey]

With MacKinnon back, by the way, AJ Greer is back down in the AHL. Not altogether surprising. [MHH]

Around the league, stick taps to the San Jose Sharks for their Lunar New Year celebration - which included a special shirt design by a local artist:

We’re also incredibly proud of Team USA’s women’s lineup, who dominated on Sunday night against Team Finland and will head on to play for the gold medal (again). They’re looking for their first gold since the inaugural year of women’s Olympic ice hockey. [CBS Sports]

(meanwhile, it’s hard not to agree with this take):

Finally, I’d like to thank reader Hockeybutt for directing me to the Eurolanche group. I saw via their Twitter account that they’re headed for an Avalanche game next week, and that’s super awesome to see!

For those who don’t know who they are, Eurolanche is a huge group of European Colorado Avalanche fans that travel for games and seem like a ton of fun. And according to a recent tweet, they’re 10 years old, which is super cool: