Oklahoma City defenseman Alex Plante suffered a broken jaw in Game 2 of the Barons' best-of-5 first-round playoff series against Charlotte and will undergo surgery on Tuesday. Plante might be sidelined the remainder of the playoffs unless Oklahoma City advances to the American Hockey League finals in June.
Colten Teubert, a first-round pick in the 2008 NHL Draft, will fill Plante's spot in the six-man defensive rotation.
“We need a physical presence in the back, and that's Colten Teubert,” said Barons coach Todd Nelson. “It's nice that we have depth with our forwards and our defense. We feel very comfortable Colten can move right in.”
The Barons' defense has been much improved the final two months of the season after they signed former NHL veteran Randy Jones and traded for Garrett Stafford. Taylor Fedun and Martin Marincin have been mainstays all season.
Brandon Davidson, who missed three months while undergoing cancer treatments, and Plante formed a solid unit in front of goaltender Yann Danis, who is 11-3-3 with a 1.91 goals against average and .927 saves percentage since returning from Edmonton.
The defense has played so well that Charlotte's 4-3 overtime win in Game 1 Friday night is the only time in Oklahoma City's last 21 games an opponent has scored more than three goals.
“I think the rest of our defense will complement Colten,” Nelson said. “We feel real comfortable with the guys we have. We just need to keep playing like we've been playing.”
Plante suffered the injury early in the third period of Oklahoma City's 5-2 win Saturday night, which tied the series 1-1.
“He was battling a guy in front of the net. A shot got deflected and hit him in the jaw,” Nelson said. “It was a freak accident.”
A first-round pick in 2007, Plante was playing his best hockey late in the season after being a healthy scratch earlier in the season. Including Games 1 and 2 of the playoffs, Plante appeared in 51 games with OKC.
“He got off to a rough start but was playing very well for us down the stretch,” Nelson said. “He was moving a lot quicker. It's pretty unfortunate this happened to him.”
The remainder of OKC's first-round series will be in Charlotte. Game 3 is Wednesday night, Game 4 Friday night. If necessary, Game 5 would be Saturday night. The winner advances to a best-of-7, second-round series.
The Barons have played well on the road the past seven weeks, going 9-1-2 away from home.
“I don't think it matters where we play right now,” Nelson said. “If we play with passion, play with energy we can have success.”