Friday, December 13, 2013
Sports News

Duchene scores pair as Avalanche beat Jets in shootout

Send a link to a friend 

[December 13, 2013]  WINNIPEG, Manitoba  Matt Duchene felt like he was back to form on Thursday night, and he'll get no argument from the Winnipeg Jets.

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 Centre.

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 Pavelec cleanly.

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.

[to top of second column]

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 at 3.

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 game."

Winnipeg is just 3-10-3 against Central Division rivals this season.

"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.

[ 2013 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

Copyright 2013 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

< Sports index

Back to top