The 22-year-old Colorado center snapped a seven-game scoring
drought with a pair of goals in regulation time and added a shootout
tally to propel the Avalanche to a 4-3 triumph over the Jets at MTS
Duchene, who hadn't scored a goal since returning to the Avs lineup
on Nov. 29 after missing three games with an abdominal injury,
scored his 13th and 14th goals of the season for the visitors.
He and P.A. Parenteau beat Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec in the
shootout, while Avs goalie Semyon Varlamov blocked attempts by
forwards Devin Setoguchi and Andrew Ladd.
Duchene also chipped in an assist on center Ryan O'Reilly's 10th
goal of the season as the Avalanche, down 2-0 early in the first
period, fought back for their first win in their last three games to
improve to 21-9-0 on the season.
Winnipeg, still at .500 with a 14-14-5 record, is winless in its
last five tries at home.
Varlamov stopped 35 shots, while Pavelec made 23 saves for the Jets.
Right winger Blake Wheeler scored a pair of goals for the Jets, his
eighth and ninth of the season, while right winger Michael Frolik
scored his eighth of the year.
Duchene, named the game's first star, said he felt comfortable on
the ice for the first time in weeks.
"Coming back from injury there and then getting sick, I went through
a tough go but am finally starting to feel good again," he said. "It
was nice to finally put a couple (goals) in.
"Tonight, I finally felt like I did before I got hurt. Everything
felt normal again. For awhile, it felt like I was in someone else's
body out there."
With the Jets leading 2-0, Duchene cut the lead in half before the
first period was over with a gorgeous goal, taking a pass in full
flight, walking around defenseman Dustin Byfuglien and then beating
Duchene picked up his second point of the game on O'Reilly's goal at
14:47 of the middle frame to knot the game at 2.
Then he scored Colorado's third straight goal, streaking to the net
and cleaning up the garbage after center Nathan McKinnon blew past
Wheeler and flipped the puck to the front with just two seconds left
in the middle frame.
"My role on this team is to provide offense, and you know when I'm
not providing offense, it's hard for us to score as many goals as we
can," Duchene said. "It's nice to get going. But that's just where
the works begins. You want to keep building and building every game
and keep going forward."
The Jets jumped out to a 2-0 lead just five minutes into the game on
Wheeler's first of the game and a power-play goal by Frolik.
On the game's very first shift, Wheeler spun and fired a low shot
that Varlamov blocked, but the rebound hit blue-liner Eric Johnson's
skate and ricocheted in at just the 24-second mark.
Out-hustled early by the home side, Colorado took a couple of minor
penalties to give the Jets a two-man advantage. Despite killing off
the rest of the first infraction, the Avalanche surrendered Frolik's
power-play goal at 5:25 — a deflection off a cannon from the point
by rookie defenseman Jacob Trouba.
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But there was no quit in the Colorado game, and the club's
head coach, Patrick Roy, was duly impressed.
"You need to find a way to win, and that's what we did. I was
very proud of my team," he said. "The fans here are fantastic
and they gave them a really good jump and that was part of the
reason they were up 2-0.
"But I was impressed with my team. We regrouped, stayed focused,
and our guys kept playing as a team. Sometimes, when you get
behind, you have the tendency to go as individuals, but that's
not what we did. We stuck to the plan, we stuck together as a
team and I think we brought it back."
Wheeler swiped a rebound past Varlamov with the Avalanche a man
short at the 10-minute mark of the third period to tie the game
The Jets are now winless in five straight games at the MTS
Centre. Their last home-ice victory came Nov. 15, when they
pinned a 3-2 shootout loss on the Philadelphia Flyers.
"The first and third periods I thought we controlled the game,"
Wheeler said. "In the middle part of the game, they took
advantage of our mistakes and that was the difference of the
Winnipeg is just 3-10-3 against Central Division rivals this
"Our division, our conference, isn't easy. There aren't any easy
games," added Wheeler. "I think we've done a good job, we've
risen to the challenge, but we've been taking positives out of
losses for too long."
Winnipeg, 7-7-4 on home ice, closes out its homestand Saturday
with a matinee matchup against the Dallas Stars. Colorado heads
home to host the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night.
NOTES: Three weeks have passed since the Avalanche last scored
on the power play. The drought matches the team's longest since
moving to Colorado in 1995. The club has gone 0-for-24 during a
stretch that began following a 4-3 triumph in Phoenix on Nov.
21. ... Chants of "Patrick, Patrick" rained down as fans gave it
to Avalanche head coach and Hall of Fame goalie Patrick Roy
after he took a bench minor penalty, presumably for directing
some choice words at the officials after the Jets took a 2-0
lead. ... The Jets began the night tied for the NHL lead in
one-goal games this season. Winnipeg played in 19 games decided
by a single marker and held a record of 7-8-4 in those contests.
The Calgary Flames, New York Islanders and New Jersey Devils
also had 19 one-goal games. ... Jets top goal scorer Bryan
Little lost his touch for eight games but snapped the streak
Tuesday with his 13th of the season, a power-play tally against
the St. Louis Blues. ... Avalanche LW Alex Tanguay missed his
17th consecutive game due to injury. The 34-year-old veteran
suffered a setback in his recovery from a knee injury last week
and hurt his hip. He is out indefinitely and might need surgery.
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