Duchene gives Avalanche a jolt of confidence

  • Article by: MICHAEL KELLY , Special to the Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 30, 2014 - 12:56 AM

In his first game back from a knee injury, Colorado’s Matt Duchene, left, caught the attention of Wild defenseman Clayton Stoner.

Photo: JEFF WHEELER • jeff.wheeler@startribune.com,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

– One player doesn’t make a team, but he can make other players better.

Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene proved that in Game 6 against the Wild on Monday night when he moved from the third line to the second. The puck movement was crisp and space opened for linemates Ryan O’Reilly and P.A. Parenteau.

The trio didn’t score together, but they created opportunities, something they hope bodes well for Wednesday’s Game 7.

“When we got paired back together it was nice. When he gets the puck, me and P.A. have that feeling we know what he’s going to do with it and it opens a lot of room out there,” O’Reilly said of Duchene. “We had a little bit of success last night, and hopefully going into Game 7 we’ll have more.”

Colorado considers itself a deep team, but in Monday’s 5-2 loss to the Wild it was apparent how much Duchene was missed earlier in the series. Duchene, the Avalanche’s leading scorer in the regular season with 23 goals and 47 assists, had not played since suffering a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee on March 29. He made a difference right away Monday with an assist on Colorado’s first power-play goal in four games.

“On the first power play the duo of O’Reilly and Duchene clicked right away,” coach Patrick Roy said. “The second one, boom, the puck is in the net.”

Roy started Duchene on the third line with Max Talbot and Brad Malone, but when Colorado fell behind 2-0 in the first 10 minutes he moved him back into familiar territory. Duchene said it helped playing with his usual linemates again.

“I was happy when I got back with them because it was easier for me to read what was going on,” Duchene said. “Max and Malone are great players, but I haven’t played with them much so it’s tough to come into a Game 6 on the road and have two new linemates you’re trying to figure out. Once I got back with ‘Factor’ and P.A., it was instant chemistry again and we picked up where we left off.”

Duchene said his knee was fine after logging 18:52 of ice time and that it would take a “pretty big hit” to hurt it again. He did admit he was rusty and jumping into a playoff series this late was tough. He is relying on his experience with Team Canada in the Sochi Olympics two months ago for Wednesday.

“My playoffs are just starting and we’re already at a Game 7. I draw on my Olympic experience at this point,” he said. “You play two Game 7s there against U.S. and Sweden. It’s not unchartered territory, but it’s a challenge with an injury like this.”

Go-to guy

Talbot is a grinder, but he might be the most important guy for Colorado leading into Wednesday’s game. The third-line forward has the most Game 7 experience on the team, playing in four with Pittsburgh. He was the hero of the Penguins upset of Detroit in Game 7 of the 2009 Stanley Cup Final when he scored both goals in a 2-1 Pittsburgh victory.

“It was never about what I did,” Talbot said. “I was lucky enough to perform, but what I remember is I was having fun, I was focused and I wanted to make a difference.”

His success has his young teammates looking to him for some insight for Wednesday’s game.

“It’s nice talking to guys like Max who’ve been there,” rookie Nathan MacKinnon said. “The biggest message they told me was it’s the same game, but the stakes are higher. It’s important to enjoy it, embrace it and have some fun with it and relax out there.”

  • related content

  • Game 7 stage is set for Wild's Parise, Avs' MacKinnon

    Wednesday April 30, 2014

    Nathan MacKinnon has one four-point game and two three-point games; Zach Parise is riding a career-best six-game point streak and is coming off four points in Monday’s Game 6 victory.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Team Irvin 32 FINAL
Team Carter 28
Miami 96 FINAL
Chicago 84
Oklahoma City 98 FINAL
Cleveland 108
Dallas 106 FINAL
New Orleans 109
Indiana 106 FINAL
Orlando 99
LA Clippers 120 FINAL
Phoenix 100
Minnesota 100 FINAL
Atlanta 112
Detroit 110 FINAL
Toronto 114
Milwaukee 95 FINAL
San Antonio 101
Boston 111 FINAL
Golden State 114
Washington 117 FINAL
Denver 115
Houston 99 FINAL
LA Lakers 87
Team Toews 17 FINAL
Team Foligno 12
South Florida 53 FINAL
Connecticut 66
Boston College 64 FINAL
Georgia Tech 62
Virginia 50 FINAL
Virginia Tech 47
Indiana 70 FINAL
Ohio State 82
Stony Brook 61 FINAL
Binghamton 54
Cincinnati 56 FINAL
UCF 46
Maine 70 FINAL
Hartford 61
Monmouth 64 FINAL
Manhattan 71
Fairfield 67 FINAL
Marist 73
Rowan 48 FINAL
Princeton 96
St Bonaventure 48 FINAL
Rhode Island 53
Duke 77 FINAL
St Johns 68
Saint Peters 69 FINAL
Siena 55
Drake 40 FINAL
Wichita State 74
Vermont 61 FINAL
UMass Lowell 50
Seton Hall 57 FINAL
Butler 77
South Alabama 55
Northern Iowa 54 FINAL
Illinois State 53
Louisville 80 FINAL
Pittsburgh 68
Albany 69
Niagara 64 FINAL
Iona 87
Notre Dame 81 FINAL
NC State 78
Belmont 63 FINAL
Tennessee St 55
Creighton 50 FINAL
Villanova 71
Northwestern 67 FINAL
Maryland 68
Washington 56 FINAL
Utah 77
Senior-North 34 FINAL
Senior-South 13
Seton Hall 99 FINAL
Georgetown 85
St Johns 69 FINAL
Villanova 81
Arkansas 58 FINAL
Florida 72
Maine 56 FINAL
Vanderbilt 55 FINAL
Alabama 52
Lafayette 60 FINAL
Lehigh 65
SMU 57
Utah 51 FINAL
Washington 63
James Madison 73 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 53
Delaware 56 FINAL
Drexel 61
Hofstra 56 FINAL
William & Mary 57
Hartford 58 FINAL
Albany 82
Binghamton 54 FINAL
Stony Brook 67
Towson 63 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 71
Wake Forest 80 FINAL
(17) Florida State 110
Georgia Tech 68 FINAL
Virginia 62
(22) Georgia 51 FINAL
(5) Tennessee 59
Drake 79 FINAL
Evansville 62
Iona 80 FINAL
Canisius 62
Fairfield 33 FINAL
Monmouth 59
Northwestern 75 FINAL
Penn State 76
Wisconsin 71 FINAL
Michigan State 77
Ohio State 79 FINAL
Purdue 71
Northern Iowa 57 FINAL
Indiana State 55
Butler 58 FINAL
Xavier 54
Creighton 93 FINAL
Marquette 75
Providence 42 FINAL
DePaul 90
Northeastern 77 FINAL
Elon 80
(2) Connecticut 96 FINAL
Cincinnati 31
Oregon 78 FINAL
Arizona 81
Bradley 46 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 45
NC State 49 FINAL
(23) Syracuse 66
(7) Maryland 84 FINAL
Indiana 74
Illinois State 35 FINAL
Missouri State 58
Colorado 68 FINAL
Washington St 73
Tulane 45 FINAL
South Florida 64
(14) Kentucky 83 FINAL
Missouri 69
(9) Oregon State 68 FINAL
(13) Arizona State 57
Vermont 63 FINAL
UMass Lowell 72
Iowa State 58 FINAL
(8) Texas 57
Southern Ill 61 FINAL
Wichita State 80
(15) Duke 74 FINAL
(12) North Carolina 67
Miami-Florida 55 FINAL
(4) Louisville 68
(21) Minnesota 61 FINAL
(25) Rutgers 66
California 72 FINAL
(11) Stanford 71 FINAL
USC 60
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Does a Stadium Series outdoor Wild game get you excited?

Weekly Question