Colorado Avalanche forward Artturi Lehkonen (L) logged an assist in a loss to the Seattle Kraken on Thursday in Denver. Photo by Jenn G/Wikimedia Commons
Nov. 10 (UPI) -- Forward Artturi Lehkonen slammed his head into the boards during a game against the Seattle Kraken and was taken to a hospital, but is alert and has full movement, the Colorado Avalanche said.
The injury sequence occurred in the second period of the Avalanche's 3-2 loss Thursday at Ball Arena in Denver.
"When a player goes to the hospital, the level of concern is high," Avalanche manager Jared Bednar told reporters at his postgame news conference.
The Avalanche were on the attack with about 8:20 remaining in the second period. Lehkonen raced defenseman Adam Larsson past the blue line as the puck flew to the boards behind the Kraken net. He then made contact with defenseman Jamie Oleksiak and stumbled, with his head hitting the barrier as he fell to the ground.
Lehkonen attempted to stand up, but then went back to his hands and knees, Medical personnel then assisted the forward as he left the ice.
"Artturi Lehkonen left [Thursday's] game in the second period," the Avalanche said. "He is alert, responsive and has full movement. He is being taken to a local hospital as a precaution for further evaluation."
The Avalanche trailed 3-2 after the second period. Avalanche forward Valeri Nichushkin scored with 7:45 remaining to tie the score. Kraken forward Oliver Bjorkstrand scored the go-ahead goal with 32 seconds remaining.
Bjorkstrand scored twice in the victory. Jaden Schwartz logged a goal and an assist for the Kraken. Fellow forward Matty Beniers also scored in the win. Kraken defenseman Adam Larsson logged two assists.
Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon totaled a goal and two assists in the loss.
Lehkonen assisted defenseman Bowen Byram for the Avalanche's first goal of the night. Lehkonen, 28, logged three goals and five assists through 12 games this season.
The veteran forward totaled a career-high 21 goals and 30 assists in 51 games last season. He helped the Avalanche win the Stanley Cup in 2022.
"He's obviously one of the toughest guys on the team," Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar said. "He's hard as nails. When he doesn't get up, you get a little worried because it could be something a little more serious.
"Hopefully everything goes well because obviously he's a huge part for us. It's an unfortunate one."
The Avalanche (8-4-0) will host the St. Louis Blues (6-6-1) at 9 p.m. EST Saturday in Denver. The Kraken (5-6-3) will host the Edmonton Oilers (2-9-1) at 10 p.m. Saturday in Seattle.