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Duchene Nets Game Winner

by Ron Knabenbauer / Colorado Avalanche

Two streaks were eventually going to end. Both occurred Sunday night at Pepsi Center.

Matt Duchene’s wrist shot beat Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick 1:52 into the third period to help the Colorado Avalanche pick up a 3-2 win, their first at home, and give Los Angeles their first regulation road loss of the season.

Duchene streaked down the left wing boards and fired the puck from the left circle through Kings defenseman Drew Doughty’s legs and into the upper half of the net in what ended up being the game winner.

“I just tried to keep it simple and shoot through [Doughty],” Duchene said. “I was able to find a hole through him and I don’t know if Quick saw it.”

The tight angle on Duchene’s goal was such that even Quick had to credit the Avalanche center.

“I don’t think me or the defenseman could have played it any differently,” Quick said. “He made a really good shot.”

The victory for Colorado improves their record to 7-4-0 on the season and 1-3-0 at home. The Avs remain in second place in the Northwest Division with 14 points after the Edmonton Oilers defeated the St. Louis Blues also on Sunday night.

Colorado closes their three game home stand on Wednesday night as they host another Pacific Division opponent in the Phoenix Coyotes. 

Special Teams Really Is Special

The Avalanche continued their hot special teams play in the second period as Milan Hejduk was in the right place at the right time.

Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick was behind his own net waiting for the puck to wrap around the boards on a Colorado forecheck, but it never came.  Instead the puck took an Avs bounce off the wall and onto the stick of Hejduk, who buried it into the open net to give Colorado the 2-1 lead.

“It just took an unexpected bounce and hit something and jumped out,” Quick said of the play. “It was coming along the wall and I was going to stop it and leave it for the [penalty kill unit]. It just took a weird hop off the wall. There is nothing you can do about it, it just took a bad bounce.”

Colorado had come into Sunday’s game with the best power play in the league with them scoring on 30 percent of their chances (9-for-30). They finished the game 1-for-4 with the man advantage.

The Avalanche penalty kill unit also found its way onto the score sheet with the first goal of the contest at 6:55 in the first period. Chuck Kobasew raced down the right wing boards and wrapped the puck into the cage from behind the net to give the Avs their second short-handed goal of the season. 

“It is always fun to score and it is always nice to contribute,” said Kobasew. “I feel like I haven’t been contributing the way that I wanted. It is nice to help that way.”

The goal was Kobasew’s second of the season and his fourth career short-handed goal, his first since Jan. 20, 2008 at the New York Rangers.

Quincey Racking Up The Points
Colorado defenseman Kyle Quincey extended his point streak to four games after picking up assists on Kobasew’s goal in the first and Hejduk’s goal in the second. He is one shy of his career high of five straight games with a point, set Oct. 1-12, 2009. He has one goal and four assists during the streak.

Quincey’s two assists also tied a career high for points in a game. It is the second time this season (the other occurred on Oct. 15 at Montreal) and 11th time of his career that he had a two-point contest.

Other Notes
Goaltender Semyon Varlamov’s five wins in October equaled his most in a single month (also Oct. of 2009 and Nov. of 2009)…Varlamov made 30-plus saves in six of his eight starts this month… Varlamov started eight games in October, the most starts of his career in a single month…He did appear in eight games in November of 2009, but started only seven of those.

Hejduk scored his team-leading third power-play goal of the season…His four goals overall are tied for second on the club behind David Jones (5)… Hejduk’s goal was his first point at home this season…Hejduk has more career goals and points at Pepsi Center than any other player in the building’s history, 181 goals and 373 points in 414 games. 

Left Wing Gabriel Landeskog finished with 43 shots-on-goal in October, the most-ever by an Avalanche/Nordiques rookie in the month of October.

Right Wing David Jones tied his career high with two assists (fourth time).

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