Posted December 30, 2011 on
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Because they've struggled on the road so much, the Colorado Avalanche will face a huge challenge in the coming weeks.
A difficult stretch of games won't be made any easier if standout center Matt Duchene misses any length of time.
The Avalanche seek a seventh win in eight games Saturday night when they open a four-game trip against the last-place Anaheim Ducks.
Colorado (20-18-1) closed a home-heavy stretch with a 3-2 victory over Phoenix on Thursday, getting a goal and an assist from rookie Gabriel Landeskog and 25 saves from Semyon Varlamov.
It was the league-leading 14th one-goal win for the Avalanche, who went 8-1-0 at Pepsi Center in December to match the franchise record for home wins in a single month.
"When the games are tight, we come out with our best and are pretty confident," defenseman Stefan Elliott told the team's official website.
The win may have come at a steep price for Colorado, which lost Duchene to a right knee injury early in the first period. Duchene - the team leader with 12 goals - wore a brace on his right knee after the game.
"He's without a doubt one of the best players in the league,'' Landeskog said. "It's definitely a big blow to us, but at the same time we have a good team in here.''
Colorado plays seven of its next eight on the road, where it had lost nine straight games before beating Minnesota 4-2 on Monday for its first win away from home since Oct. 22.
Though Varlamov has won his last two starts, coach Joe Sacco could start Jean-Sebastien Giguere against his former team. Giguere, who had a personal four-game win streak snapped by Winnipeg on Tuesday, would make his first start against the Ducks in Anaheim, where he spent the bulk of his 13-year career.
Giguere, who helped the Ducks win the 2007 Stanley Cup, beat Anaheim in Toronto as a member of the Maple Leafs on Jan. 20.
"This game has been on my mind all year. I've been looking at the calendar. The first game I looked up was when we would play in Anaheim," Giguere said. "I've been looking forward to it since the beginning of the year and I'm hoping the reaction is going to be good."
The Ducks' disappointing season continued Thursday with a 5-2 loss to Vancouver in the opener of a six-game homestand. Bobby Ryan and Nick Bonino scored third-period goals for Anaheim (10-20-6), which has lost five of six and 16 of 20.
"In the games we've lost, we've beaten ourselves,'' said coach Bruce Boudreau, who is 3-7-2 since taking over for Randy Carlyle. "All five of their goals, they were based on turnovers."
Jonas Hiller allowed four goals or more for the third time in five starts before he was replaced by Dan Ellis at 7:59 of the second period. The Ducks have lost 18 of the 19 games in which Hiller has yielded more than two goals.
"We knew they were hot right now and one of the top teams, but it looked like we weren't ready to compete with them,'' Hiller said.
Hiller hasn't received much support from his offense, which ranks among the league's worst with 2.33 goals per game. Captain Ryan Getzlaf has been one of the biggest culprits, scoring two goals in his last 27 games.
Getzlaf's club, however, has scored 27 goals during a six-game win streak against the Avalanche. Teemu Selanne has five goals with seven assists in those six games for the Ducks.
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Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene has left Thursday's game against the Phoenix Coyotes because of a right knee injury and will not return.
Duchene was injured early in the first period when he tried to deliver a check and his right skate got caught on the ice. He skated to the bench and went immediately to the locker room.
Duchene played 2:23 over three shifts and recorded...
Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene will miss four weeks after being forced out of Thursday's game against the Phoenix Coyotes with a right knee injury.
Duchene underwent an MRI Friday. He suffered the injury in the opening period when his skate was caught on the ice while attempting to deliver a check.
He immediately went to the locker room and was ruled out the rest of...
The Colorado Avalanche will be without Matt Duchene for a month -- minimum. But the situation could be much worse. According to the Denver Post, Duchene's knee injury is likely just a bad sprain and surgery isn't needed. Duchene is currently second on the Colorado Avalanche with 24 points, (12-12) in 39 games this season. This is the biggest possible loss for an Avalanche...
Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene was forced out of Thursday's game against the Phoenix Coyotes with a right knee injury.
Duchene suffered the injury in the opening period when his skate was caught on the ice while attempting to deliver a check.
He immediately went to the locker room and was ruled out the rest of the way.
Duchene, playing in his 200th career game Thursday...
via Adrian Dater tweet, Duchene to be “re-evaluated” tomoroiw
Even before Matt Duchene went out with a knee injury, the Avs were going to have a tough month of January.
During this month, they have 12 games in this month and only three of them are at home, where the Avs have won nine of the last ten.
They have to embark on the road, where they are 7-8-1 despite starting the season 6-0. As it sits now, the Avs have 41 points, one point...
My story on Matt Duchene, delayed once after originally being slotted for December 28, was scheduled to run on Sunday.
The word came Friday that Duchene will be out at least four weeks because of the unspecified knee injury he suffered Thursday night against Phoenix. The understandable decision was made not to run it in the paper. I pondered simply holding the material and...
From the game here: Avs forward Matt Duchene has suffered a knee injury and won’t return to the rest of the game with Phoenix.
Duchene was going to hit Phoenix’s Rostislav Klesla along the boards, when it appeared a skate became planted and when Duchene’s body twisted following the hit, the leg kind of stayed in the same direction and something may have been pulled...
Matt Duchene will be out of the Avalanche lineup for at least the next four weeks, the team said Friday. But all is not lost for the season, his teammates say.
DENVER (AP) -- Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene has left Thursday's game against the Phoenix Coyotes because of a knee injury and will not return.
Even without the services of star forward Matt Duchene, the Avs were able to power their way by the flightless Anaheim Ducks.
Milan Hejduk cashed in on two beautiful Ryan O'Reilly passes to break a mini-scoring slump and give the Avs a 4-2 victory in goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere's return to Anaheim for the first time since he was traded.
Chuck Kobasew and Kyle...
In its first game since losing young star Matt Duchene to a knee injury, the Avalanche showed no ill effects Saturday in a 4-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks in a New Year's Eve contest at the Honda Center.
ANAHEIM – Matt Duchene is out, but David Jones is back in. That’s the word I’m hearing, even though the Avs did not have a morning skate today here in sunny Southern California.
Jones, out the last couple weeks with a groin pull, has been activated by the team and should be in the lineup for the New Year’s Eve tilt with the reeling but still dangerous Ducks.
By the way, Jan...