It appears as though Matt Duchene
’s injury might not be too serious after all.
The Avalanche rookie left last night’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks in the first period with a torso injury and did not return. Duchene, who began the contest on a line with Cody McLeod
and Brandon Yip, leads all rookie scorers and ranks third overall on the Avalanche with 55 points (24g/31a). The Haliburton, Ontario native took six shifts totaling 5:18 of ice time before departing.
Following Saturday’s practice, Avalanche head coach Joe Sacco stated that Duchene is listed as day-to-day with the injury, but is doubtful to play in Sunday’s regular season finale against the Los Angeles Kings at Pepsi Center.
“He did go to the hospital for precautionary measures,” said Sacco. “He stayed overnight and he was discharged this morning.”
Duchene actually suffered the injury during Wednesday night’s contest in Edmonton after being hit at center ice by Oilers forward Zack Stortini. The rookie tried to play through it last night, but Sacco said the injury “flared up” during the opening period.
The silver lining in the situation is that Duchene will have a few days to let the injury heal, assuming he doesn’t play on Sunday. While the postseason schedule has yet to be finalized, the Avalanche will likely open the playoffs sometime in the middle of this coming week, giving the rookie a bit of rest.
“You can look at it that way. He’s got some time to rest up and get better,” said Sacco. “If we’re playing Wednesday or Thursday, hopefully he’ll be ready to go by then.”Other Lineup News
Sacco said there was no major update on the status of injured forward Peter Mueller
“Mueller is making progress,” said Sacco. “He’s still not going to play tomorrow. He hasn’t been on the ice yet, but he’s getting better each day and that’s the most important thing with that injury.”
The head coach also noted that T.J. Galiardi, Milan Hejduk
and captain Adam Foote will all be in the lineup tomorrow, while Craig Anderson will start in goal.Potential Opponent
The Avalanche is officially locked into the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference, meaning the club will face the conference’s top seed when the postseason opens next week. Colorado’s first-round opponent could be decided as early as Saturday night.
The Chicago Blackhawks and San Jose Sharks are currently tied atop the Western Conference standings with 111 points apiece, but the Hawks hold the tie-breaker by having two more victories than the Sharks. Each team has one game remaining.
The Sharks will take on the Phoenix Coyotes tonight at HP Pavilion, and need at least one point to keep alive their hopes of claiming the top spot. If San Jose loses in regulation, that honor goes to Chicago.
The Blackhawks will face Detroit on Sunday afternoon, and will simply need to match the Sharks’ point total from Saturday night in order to gain home-ice advantage through the Western Conference Finals, should they advance that far.