DENVER (AP) _ Defenseman Rob Blake returned to the Colorado Avalanche lineup Monday night after a quick recovery from a knee injury.

Blake, who crashed into the boards Tuesday against Calgary, saw plenty of ice time against the New Jersey Devils on Monday.

``Fortunately, it wasn't as serious as we might have thought early on,'' said Blake, who's had several knee injuries during 13 NHL seasons.

The plan was for Blake to take part in the team's skate Monday and practice with the team Tuesday, then see how the knee reacts. He was able to skate pain-free before Sunday's practice.

With right wing Milan Hejduk unable to play because of an abdominal injury and the Avalanche in a heated race with San Jose for the No. 2 playoff seed in the Western Conference, Blake was eager to return.

His absence the past two games was especially felt on the power play, where the Avalanche went a combined 1-for-10. Blake is tied with Joe Sakic for the team lead with nine power-play goals, and with 44 points, he's second in the NHL in scoring among defensemen.