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Coyotes’ Niklas Hjalmarsson exits game with lower body injury

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Arizona Coyotes had to finish out a tightly contested game down a man in Niklas Hjalmarsson.

The defenseman was removed from Saturday’s game against the Colorado Avalanche following the first period with what the team is calling a lower body injury.

Hjalmarsson had a blocked shot before exiting the game.

“Not sure yet,” head coach Rick Tocchet said about the defenseman. “Blocked a shot, so at this point, I’m not sure. But I don’t think it’s going to be day-to-day.”

After making the block, Hjalmarsson could be seen heading to the bench hunched over in discomfort. The Athletic’s Craig Morgan reported that Hjalmarsson was on crutches leaving the Avalanches’ home Pepsi Center and left in a vehicle separate from the team, indicating that he would likely not join the team on its trip to Winnipeg.

“That’s a big loss for us. Nik is a good defenseman,” Tocchet said. “We’re going to miss Nik if he’s out for a bit.”

Against the Las Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday, Hjalmarsson scored his only goal of the season, registering his first point of the year.

Hjalmarsson is in his third season with the Coyotes. He managed just 48 games during the 2017-18 season before playing in all 82 last year.

All told, the defenseman has two goals and 18 assists for 20 points in 133 games played (three seasons) with Arizona.

After being held scoreless for most of the game, both the Coyotes and Avalanche found the back of the net in the third period, combining for four goals.

Colorado got the last laugh, however, scoring the deciding goal in overtime to take the 3-2 win over Arizona.

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