Just nine games into an 82-game season, it’s already starting to feel like a grind for the Colorado Avalanche. The Avs started out well, but a series of tough losses have the team sitting at 4-4-1, putting them in third place in the Northwest Division (via NHL.com). They’re not that far out of first place—trailing the Calgary Flames by just three points—but it might be hard to keep pace in the tough division.

Before last night’s game against the Canucks in Vancouver, starting goalie Craig Anderson limped off the ice with what looked like an injury to his right knee. Now, The Denver Post reports that Anderson won’t be traveling with the team to Calgary for a game Thursday night and will instead come back to Denver for more examination.

The Avs also lost last night’s game 4-3 in overtime on a fluke goal (recap via Mile High Hockey).

Anderson was the main reason the Avs made a surprising playoff run last year, starting 71 of the team’s 82 games and bringing a veteran edge to a team comprised mostly of youngsters. As the Post notes, Avs’ coach Joe Sacco probably wasn’t planning to lean on Anderson nearly as much this year and has been showing much more willingness to start backup goalie Peter Budaj, who didn’t get his second start last year until mid-November. He’ll clearly see more playing time now, and the Avs are also likely to call up a goalie from the farm teams.

The unexpected goalie situation overshadows an honor earned by Avs defenseman John-Michael Liles, who set an NHL record for defensemen by scoring at least one assist in each of the Avs’ first nine games (via The Associated Press).