On a night where the Colorado Avalanche earned two massive points against the San Jose Sharks to regain sole possession of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference, the team also learnt that trade deadline acquisition Peter Mueller will be sidelined for an unknown amount of time.
Mueller was collecting a loose puck behind the San Jose net when he was taken into the boards by Sharks defenceman Rob Blake. The hit appeared to be clean, however Mueller did need assistance in getting to the bench. It was later determined that the 21 year old forward would not only be missing the remainder of that game, but would be out with a concussion for a few more games to come.
The former Coyote has been nothing short of spectacular for the Avalanche since joining the team on March 3, tallying 20 points in 15 games. Needless to say, he's been a very big part of what little offense the Av's have mustered since the Olympic break.
It is quite possible that the left winger misses the remainder of the regular season, which is a huge blow not only to Colorado's offense, but their playoff chances as well. The Av's currently hold a mere two point lead, all tiebreakers and have one game in hand on ninth place Calgary, who is quickly catching the Avalanche. If Mueller does indeed miss the final week of the season, The team is going to need someone to step up their game and help fill the void if they plan on extending their season past April 12.
Look no further than former Boston University forward Brandon Yip. Yip has been one of many pleasant rookie surprises for the Av's this year, getting a late call up in mid-January and tallying 18 points (11 G, 7 A) in 26 games for the Avalanche. After missing the whole month of March with a shoulder injury, Yip recently rejoined the team on April 2, suiting up for the 2-1 loss vs. Calgary.
The 25 year old Vancouver native has proven many times this year that he is capable of scoring goals and logging a lot of ice time, having played most of the year on the second line with Matt Duchene and Milan Hejduk. Which is where the right-handed left winger will probably find himself when the Av's suit up to play Vancouver on Tuesday, April 6.
The team will need a big performance from Brandon Yip in the final week of the season to help in Meuller's absence, and it's not as if Yip isn't capable of answering the call. He has shown before that he is very capable of scoring goals, now the Av's need him to step up and do so more than ever.