The Colorado Avalanche saw franchise center Matt Duchene score twice in his return to Pepsi Center. However, the Avs still won.
Well, Colorado Avalanche fans, a few of you booed Matt Duchene during his little tribute, and he went out and scored two goals against the Avs. Call it the curse of the former Avs or karma, but that’s what happened.
Of course, my hockey dream also happened — I got to watch my favorite opponent player score but the Avs win anyway. Granted, I’ve wanted it to be Jaromir Jagr all these years, but I’ll take Matt Duchene.
Let’s do one more little stroll down memory lane, and then we’ll get to the Avs goodies — and one baddie. One last stroll, because the next time Duchene returns, it’s business as usual.
The Return of Matt Duchene
More from Analysis
- 4 goalies to replace Pavel Francouz if he has to miss time
- What does Ross Colton bring to the Colorado Avalanche?
- Colorado Avalanche in-depth look at Jonathan Drouin
- Colorado Avalanche without Gabriel Landeskog, will another wear the “C”?
- Avalanche vs. Kraken prediction and odds for NHL playoffs Game 3
You can be as salty as you want about how things ended with Duchene, but he brought a lot of value to the team both on and off the ice when he was here. As I stated in a previous post, he’s a part of our history, our shared lore, and that alone means we should embrace his story.
I purposely made a sign welcoming back Duchene and went over to the Senators warmups side. I wasn’t the only one with a “Welcome back, Dutchy” sign. He stick-tapped us, signed some jerseys, and thanked us for being there. Mission accomplished: Whatever else happened in the game, he’d know he was still loved in Colorado.
As noted above, what happened was Duchene scored two goals but the Avs won anyway. The first goal happened fittingly after the little tribute (highlighting his contributions to the team) played across the Pepsi Cam:
Duchene then spoiled Samuel Girard’s first goal of the season — remember, Girard was part of the return for Duchene — by scoring his second of the game literally 12 seconds later:
Like, literally they were still announcing Girard’s goal. How rude.
That was it for Sens scoring. They’re a decimated team thanks to the rebuild and injuries. And the Colorado Avalanche went on to score five unanswered goals to prevail 6-3.
Last word about Dutchy. I remember specifically that Paul Stastny never thanked the fans for his time in Denver. And Ryan O’Reilly focused on the few boos he received when he returned to Pepsi Center for the first time. Duchene did the former — both at the time of the trade and tonight — and failed to do the latter:
You can’t teach class, and Duchene is a class act all the way.
Moving on to current Avalanche players.
Tyson Jost is injured. As I’ve been noting, the team doesn’t seem to be following through on an adequate amount of development for the talented young forward. And, no, I don’t have a fly in the wall in the dressing room or the coach’s office, but whatever they’re doing is not working.
And now it appears Jost is injured:
I noticed first that Jost didn’t play on the late second power play. I though coach Jared Bednar was just taking his salad spinner approach to line-making, which I hate. However, I then noticed Bednar was not only mixing up the lines in the third, Jost wasn’t even on the bench. I started searching Twitter for news, but the writers were caught up in the Avs surge — four goals in the third period.
Finally, Ryan Clark of The Athletic got back to me:
Side note: Getting back to tweets is not an Adrian Dater special.
I was watching Jost’s game, and I didn’t notice and particularly big hits. However, the Colorado Avalanche are notoriously closed-mouthed about injuries, so who knows what happened.
Ok, on to the goodies.
Colorado Avalanche: Best Top Line in Hockey
The Colorado Avalanche’s top line of Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog combined for 10 points in the game. Obviously, they all had multi-point nights:
- Gabriel Landeskog: 3 points (1 goal, 2 assists)
- Mikko Rantanen: 4 points (1 goal, 3 assists)
- Nathan MacKinnon: 3 points (1 goal, 2 assists)
The above order is also how the three stars of the night were called at the game, though the NHL put those three players in a different order. In any case, at the game Landeskog was named the first star of the game. Rinkside reporter Lauren Garner asked him, “Safe to say, this top line is the best in the league?”
Our captain was succinct:
“Yeah, we are.”
That’s our Viking captain.
You know what else is our captain? Falling down. A few years ago, he became famous for Landeskogging after a goal:
He had the flu at the time. However, now it appears he’s just clumsy in his exuberance at scoring a goal:
No, really, Rantanen worked on his balance over the summer (that was a stated objective of his). I don’t think there’s any hope for Gabe, though.
Anyway, the Cinderella rule is in full effect. The team can’t stay too high after tonight’s win because it was the first game of a back-to-back. Right after the game the Colorado Avalanche players left to face the (hated) Minnesota Wild.