Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene didn’t have a career year. Indeed, he had an off season, despite playing all 82 games for the first time in his career.
However, as discussed in a previous post, an off year for Matt Duchene is still pretty darn good by NHL standards. Coming in fourth in points, he still very much contributed to the team.
The Colorado Avalanche play in the toughest division in the NHL, the Central. The Western Conference itself isn’t any walk in the park. So, even though hockey is a team sport, let’s see how Matt Duchene himself fared against Western Conference foes.
Matt Duchene No Show
Matt Duchene failed to record a point only against one Central Division team. Not surprisingly, it was the Minnesota Wild, against whom the Avalanche only scored four goals in five games. Duchene also failed to score any points against the Los Angeles Kings in three games.
Weirdly, the Chicago Blackhawks also seemed to stifle him. He played all five games against the team but only recorded a single assist. The assist came in the Avalanche’s final game of the season, that feel-good win in front of the home crowd at the Pepsi Center. Duchene assisted on winger Jarome Iginla‘s power play goal in the second.
Matt Duchene, Meh
The words “Matt Duchene” and “meh” rarely appear together. Duchene is just too dynamic — and intense — for that.
That said, there were some teams against whom his performance was on the “meh” side. The St. Louis Blues are one such. He scored a goal and earned an assist. The goal came in mid-January. Technically it was former linemate Paul Stastny‘s own goal, but Duchene was the last Avalanche to touch it, so he got the credit.
Stastny’s own-goal, credited to Duchene:
The Edmonton Oilers were also a “meh” team for Duchene last season . He earned just one assist in three games.
It’s hard to call Duchene’s one goal against the San Jose Sharks mediocre considering the Colorado Avalanche didn’t beat them even once in two tries. Especially considering Duchene’s goal was the only Avs goal of the game and one of only three Colorado scored against San Jose.
Matt Duchene, Terminator
Matt Duchene really strutted his stuff against certain teams.
Duchene had a heck of a good time playing against the Dallas Stars. He earned two goals and five assists in five games against them. The goal that came in the January 10th game was the game winner. (Oddly, in two shootout attempts, Duchene failed to score.)
Duchene was one of the few forwards who performed well against the Winnipeg Jets as well. He earned two goals and two assists. In two separate games Duchene scored both a goal and an assist. Only the mid-December effort resulted in a win, though.
Concerning the Pacific Division, Duchene scored a goal and earned three assists against the Vancouver Canucks. Even more impressively, he scored three goals and earned an assist against the Arizona Coyotes. All three goals were in different games.
The game tying goal in the mid-November game is about as close to an ugly goal as you’ll see Matt Duchene make:
Matt Duchene, Etc.
Matt Duchene was a personal assist man against the Nashville Predators, earning four of those in five games. Center John Mitchell and winger Jarome Iginla (three times!) benefited from Duchene’s playmaking abilities.
Against the Calgary Flames Duchene earned a goal and an assist. The goal came in an overtime loss to the Flames in early December.
Duchene did a little better against the Anaheim Ducks, scoring a goal and earning two assists. In fact, in the April 3rd away game that started the feel-good march to the end of the season, Duchene scored a goal and earned an assist. His goal was the game-winner.
Overall, Matt Duchene scored five goals and earned 13 assists against the Central Division. In 10 fewer games, he got seven goals and eight assists against the Pacific Division, giving him 12 goals and 21 assists against the Western Conference.
Those numbers represent the majority of Duchene’s 21 goals and 34 assists, proving he comes up big when his team needs him most. Duchene slumped last season just like every other player on the team. However, no one can question Duchene’s work ethic — or his talent, for that matter. If he keeps up the work he put in last year, coming in second on the team with 207, he’s sure to make an even greater difference in clutch games.
[More Player Profiles vs the Western Conference:
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