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A Strong Month For Duchene

by Ron Knabenbauer / Colorado Avalanche
Matt Duchene scored another goal, but it was Patrick Marleau that stole the show.

Marleau had his fourth career three-goal performance as he helped the San Jose Sharks to a 4-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday night at Pepsi Center.

The Avs took a 1-0 lead in the game after Duchene and defenseman Ryan Wilson had two great tape-to-tape passes in the Sharks’ zone that ended with the puck in the top shelf of the net at 7:25 of the first period.

Marleau then scored back-to-back goals at 12:16 in the first and 7:35 in the second to give San Jose the only lead they would need. Joe Pavelski made it a 3-1 lead for the Sharks after he scored late in the second period.

“We didn’t get the puck out at times at the blue line,” Duchene said of the second period. “They made us pay. They are a very skilled team and if you make a mistake, it will likely end up in the back of your own net.”

After having several opportunities to put away his third goal of the night in the third, Marleau was finally able to score with 43 seconds left into the empty net.

“I know [Ryan Clowe] was trying to help me out on the 2-on-1 and so was [Torrey Mitchell],” Marleau said of his teammates trying to help him get his third red lighter. “They helped me early on and Pickles (Marc-Edouard Vlasic) gave me the other two so he was in the right place all game and got me the third one.”

Colorado will be back in action on Wednesday night when they host the defending Western Conference champions, the Vancouver Canucks, at 7:30 p.m. in game three of their eight-game homestand.

Another Day, Another Goal For Duchene
Center Matt Duchene found the back of the net for the second time in as many games and his fourth in his last five contests. He now has seven goals in November, one shy of his career high for a single month (8 in December 2010).

Duchene continues to lead the Avalanche with nine goals for the year.

Avs PK Solid
Even with Colorado finding themselves in the penalty box six times in the game, their penalty kill unit was up to the challenge.

The Sharks finished 1-of-6 on the power play and were only able to muster a total of four shots on goal during their man advantage chances.

San Jose’s only power-play goal came in the final minute when Marleau scored via the empty net.

Avs goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who made his third consecutive start in net, said the team’s defense has improved immensely the past few weeks.

“I think we have come a long way,” Giguere said. “I think two, three weeks ago we were giving up way too many scoring chances, but the last three games we have taken that down quite a bit. We can still improve, but I think we’ve come a long way.”

Colorado’s penalty kill unit has allowed only two goals in the last five games; killing 16-of-18 (88.9 percent) power plays.

More Notes
Patrick Marleau tallied his fourth career hat trick tonight…His last hat trick came on Nov. 27, 2009 at Edmonton.

Shane O’Brien appeared in his 400th career NHL game tonight.

Marc-Edouard Vlasic tied his season and career high with three assists…Tonight was his second three-assist effort in the last four days, as he also had three helpers on Thursday (Nov. 17) vs. Detroit…His other three assist game was Dec. 4, 2008 vs. Columbus.

Ryan Wilson collected his 11th assist of the season, tying Kyle Quincey for the overall team lead.

Thomas Greiss made a season-high 36 saves.

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