Colorado Avalanche: Matt Duchene’s Milestone Goal

Nov 5, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Coyotes goalie Mike Smith (41) makes a save on Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene (9) during the third period at Gila River Arena. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 5, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Coyotes goalie Mike Smith (41) makes a save on Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene (9) during the third period at Gila River Arena. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports /

Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene, along with fellow forwards Carl Soderberg and Mikhail Grigorenko, had big nights against the Arizona Coyotes.

Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene scored his 28th goal of the season against the Arizona Coyotes. This is a career-high in goals for Duchene, who scored 27 goals in his second year with the Colorado Avalanche.

This is a pretty amazing statistic considering how the year started — with Duchene slumping so hard there was talk of his being traded. (October was an awful time to be a Colorado Avalanche fan, at least for me.)

Matt Duchene alluded to that during a post-game presser, “[The puck] has been going in a lot since the end of October.”

Right now Duchene leads the Colorado Avalanche with 52 points (28 goals, 24 assists). He has four points in his last four games.

Duchene said the key for him is staying as “humble but hungry” as possible. He’s also working very hard on his game. Indeed, he often stays after for practice “because you just never know what’s going to make the difference.”

Matt Duchene fully acknowledges what his role is:

"“My role is to provide offense, and that’s what’s expected. That’s what I’ve got to do for the team.”"

Duchene has scored 20+ goals five times during his seven-year career. He has not hit that magical 30-goal mark… yet. He admits:

"“I’m not thinking about it too much. It’d be nice to get two more hopefully this year and get to that 30-goal mark.”"

On the flip side, don’t think Matt Duchene is going all rock star yet — that humility is still very much a part of who he is. He’s a team-first kind of guy. Scoring goals is a large part of his role with the Colorado Avalanche. Additionally, Duchene gives credit where credit is due:

"“My linemates are playing great and helping me out, and we’re going good right now.”"

Last night, when Matt Duchene scored his 28th goal, his linemates were Blake Comeau and Mikhail Grigorenko, who’s been a linemate for a while now. Both got assists on Duchene’s goal:

That’s a very Ducheney goal, isn’t it? It also happened to be the game-winner.

Colorado Avalanche forward Carl Soderberg earned an assist on the opening goal of the game, scored by forward Shawn Matthias. He has now earned 33 assists for the first time in his career. Soderberg has largely been skating with captain Gabriel Landeskog and another forward of coach Roy’s choosing.

Duchene said of Soderberg:

"“He’s a guy who’s come in and filled a big spot. He’s played very well. He’s been great on the penalty kill, but he’s been scoring, too. He’s a great playmaker.”"

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Carl Soderberg has been quietly making a positive name for himself on the team. He’s seen as a pretty reliable — and remarkably offense-minded — guy.

Colorado Avalanche center Mikhail Grigorenko is having a career year. This isn’t exactly surprising considering his draft team, the Buffalo Sabres, pretty much didn’t use him. In three years with Buffalo he played only 68 games total.

This season, Grigorenko has already played 60 games. It shows in his game as well. He’s achieved a career-high in goals with five — that’s not a ton, granted, but it’s helpful. He’s been excellent as a playmaker, earning a career-high 17 assists for a career-high 22 points on the season. (Prior to that the most assists he had in a season was four, and the most points he had was six.)

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Grigorenko faltered a bit in the beginning with the Colorado Avalanche, too. Head coach Patrick Roy wanted to see him improve his work ethic and to win more of his battles. Now that Grigorenko has improved, he’s getting his ice time.

Not only that, he’s getting to skate on a top-six line with Matt Duchene. Duchene returned the favor by assisting on a goal by Grigorenko in the Coyotes game. Duchene said of his linemate:

"“It was a big goal by Grigo. Great hands by him. His game’s just been skyrocketing. Grigo’s a guy who came in, [he’s been] in and out of a lot of lineups the last few years. His game’s going through the roof right now. He’s making great plays.  You can just see the confidence coming every game. This kid’s ceiling’s really high, so it’s going to be exciting to watch him continue to develop.”"

The Colorado Avalanche beat the Arizona Coyotes 3-1. Duchene and Grigorenko both earned stars of the game for their efforts.