CENTENNIAL, COLO. — After the Colorado Avalanche was dominated in Games 3 and 4 on the road by the Wild, coach Patrick Roy pulled aside forward P.A. Parenteau. Roy felt Parenteau wasn’t playing well and needed a pep talk.
By his own admission, Parenteau was playing tentatively after missing four weeks with a sprained right medial collateral ligament that cost him 15 games. He returned for the last two regular-season games. but he wasn’t himself at the start of the series with the Wild.
That changed in Game 5. After meeting with Roy, Parenteau had six shots on goalie Darcy Kuemper, and scored the game-tying goal with 1:14 left in the third period. The Avalanche soon won 4-3 in overtime.
“That’s a talk I needed to have with him. It’s tough when you come back from injuries like that,” Parenteau said. “He told me he believed in me. It was good to have that chat for sure.”
Parenteau led the Avalanche in scoring last season with 18 goals and 43 points, but injuries limited him to 15 games this season. Heading into his first postseason, he seemed to lack the same confidence he possessed a year ago.
Before Game 5, Roy told him he needed to work to get back to being that player.
“If you work hard, confidence is going to get there. You could go to Wal-Mart, [but] you can’t buy confidence in the business of hockey because they don’t sell confidence at Wal-Mart,” Roy said. “He’s a smart hockey player, he has a high IQ and he’s capable of having an IQ by playing a faster pace. That was a really good game for him.”
Parenteau’s six shots Saturday were half of what the entire team had in Game 4. He was driving the net and creating opportunities, and he nearly had a goal in the second period.
He was a much different player than the first four games of the series.
“I was a little more tentative for sure with my knee and stuff,” Parenteau said. “At the end of the day, it was coming down to competing more and to play with an edge a little more.”
He didn’t hesitate on the tying goal, skating hard to the front of the net as Paul Stastny centered a pass. Parenteau went to one knee and put the puck in the top corner to tie it at 3-3.
“He’s a pretty good passer so I just came in,” Parenteau said. “I knew he was going to make a play and it was right on my tape.”
One game gave him back some confidence, and he wants to keep it for Monday’s Game 6.
“It’s playoff time, and I think I did that last night and it made a big difference in my game,” he said.
Duchene still a maybe
Injured Avalanche center Matt Duchene continues to skate, but Roy isn’t ready to commit to putting his leading scorer (23 goals, 70 points) in the lineup for Game 6. Roy said Duchene hasn’t taken part in a full practice, and that’s a factor in determining whether he’s ready for playoff hockey.
Duchene hasn’t played since suffering a knee injury March 31.
“He seems to react well to the treatment, he looks good but, like I said before,” Roy said, “we’re going to be patient and [Monday] we’ll see how he feels after the morning skate and we’ll make a decision after that.”
Colorado leading the series 3-2 could also factor in the decision, Roy said.
If Duchene does play he would be eased back into the lineup.
“You can’t jump in and play the same way you were before you got hurt,” Roy said. “Slowly start on the fourth line, then power play and then you’re going to see if he’s ready for more minutes. If he does play that’s the plan.”