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Game 5 starter Andrew Hammond looking to return to Hamburglar form

The Colorado Avalanche will be without Erik Johnson, Sam Girard, Semyon Varlamov, and Jonathan Bernier

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Nashville Predators at Colorado Avalanche
Colorado Avalanche goaltender Andrew Hammond (35) pokes away the puck in the third period against the Nashville Predators in game four of the first round of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Pepsi Center.
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Avalanche will be forced to go to their third-string goaltender in game five against the Nashville Predators, in Nashville. Andrew Hammond replaced Jonathan Bernier in the third period of game 4 in Denver after the team’s back-up was forced to leave the game with a lower-body injury after making 23 saves on 26 shots. Hammond came in and stopped all eight shots he faced as the Avs tried to mount a comeback.

After coming to the Avalanche organization in the Matt Duchene trade, Hammond has tried to restart his career that has been riddled with injuries while jumping between his former organization, the Ottawa Senators, and his current team, the Avalanche. In an interview with Steve Dangle, Hammond recounts how he hasn’t played fully healthy since college.

“I had knee pain constantly on my right side since college and I didn’t really know why,” he began. “Sometimes your kneecap pops out. And then I would have lower back pain if I was in a car or in a plane for more than two hours. It’s kind of everything. But now since I’ve had the surgery and all this gets taken care of, for the first time I’m not wearing a knee brace since college hockey. I don’t have back pain.”

For the majority of the season, Hammond played on the AHL’s worst team, the Belleville Senators, posting a .900 save percentage in 18 games — a 8-6-2 record for a team featuring Patrick Sieloff on defense. In his one game with the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage, the Hamburglar stopped 31 of 32 shots in a 2-1 win against the Texas Stars near the end of March. Four days later, in his one NHL game this season, Hammond lost 2-1 at home to the Philadelphia Flyers while stopping 31 or 33 shots in a full 60 minutes of work.

Aside from playing in front of Erik Karlsson for half a season, Hammond has never really had a great defense core in front of him in recent memory. Hopefully he feels right at home on Friday night.