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Makar returns vs. Ducks after 4-game injury absence

Michael Martin / National Hockey League / Getty

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar is in the lineup Thursday against the Anaheim Ducks after missing the last four games with an upper-body injury.

Additionally, Valeri Nichushkin, who returned for the last five games after missing the previous nine contests with an ankle injury, wasn't available due to an upper-body ailment. He's considered day-to-day. Matt Nieto, who was acquired in a trade with the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday, made his debut with his new club, while Denis Malgin also returned after missing nine games.

Makar, the reigning Norris Trophy and Conn Smythe winner, has 43 points in 42 games this season and leads the league with 27:09 of average ice time.

Colorado went 4-0-0 without Makar. The team is riding a six-game winning streak and crawled its way back into a playoff spot despite a myriad of injuries.

Several key players have missed time this season, including Nathan MacKinnon. The club is still without captain Gabriel Landeskog and defensemen Bowen Byram and Josh Manson, among others.

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