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Duchene Passes Sundin In Franchise Record Book

by Ron Knabenbauer / Colorado Avalanche

PITTSBURGH—Colorado Avalanche forward Matt Duchene continues to make his mark in the franchise's all-time record book.

Duchene scored two goals in the Avs' 4-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night at Consol Energy Center and moved past Hockey Hall of Famer Mats Sundin in two statistical categories.

The Haliburton, Ontario, native passed Sundin for 11th place on the franchise's all-time scoring list with 335 points and for 12th on the all-time goals list with 136. He is now chasing Adam Deadmarsh (138) for 11th place on the goals list and Valeri Kamensky (414) for 10th in points.

To go along with his two tallies, Duchene finished the game against the Pens with five shots on goal, eight attempts and won 69 percent of his faceoffs (9-for-13) in 22:59 of ice time. His line, which included Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog, contributed 14 of the club's 31 shots on net.

Despite Landeskog missing two games because of a suspension earlier this week, Colorado's top trio has continued to be its best. The three players have combined for eight goals and 10 assists in the team's last five games.

Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy said he has no plans in the near future to breakup the combo in order to spread around the scoring wealth.

"That line is playing good hockey for us, and they're going to stay like this," Roy said after the game. "The other lines, it's their job to find ways to compete, and I will play the line that they play against. I'm not going to spread out the lineup, no way."

Duchene's markers versus Pittsburgh continued his offensive tear through the month of November. His nine goals in the month lead the NHL while his 15 points rank second behind only Chicago forward Patrick Kane's 16.

The Avs center was named the NHL's 'First Star' of the week on Monday after recording four goals and four assists in games in Philadelphia, Boston and Montreal.

Duchene's point streak was also extended Thursday to five games (six goals and five assists), his longest since a career-high nine-game stretch from Feb. 8 to March 12, 2014.

The forward's first goal of the night came on the power play with 25.3 seconds left in the first period. He picked up the rebound off a slap shot from Jarome Iginla in the low slot and threw the puck top shelf to give Colorado a 1-0 lead.

The Penguins responded with three tallies in 2:08 in the second frame to quickly flip the score and the momentum. Tyson Barrie registered his first of the year to make it a one-goal game early in the third stanza, but Sidney Crosby extended Pittsburgh's lead back to two midway through the period before Duchene scored again.

"It doesn't matter if it is for two or three minutes, you can lose a game just like that," Landeskog said of the Pens' quick strikes. "It turns around real quick."

Duchene picked up his second of the night and 10th goal of the season with 1:23 remaining. He received a low cross-slot pass from Landeskog and banged in the puck to make it a 4-3 contest.

The Avs, led by the top line, had several good looks in the last minute but were unable find the equalizer before the final horn sounded.

Duchene can pick up another milestone on Saturday in Washington, as he is just one assist shy of 200 in his NHL career. He would be the 13th player in franchise history to hit the two-century mark in helpers.

REDMOND MAKES SEASON DEBUT

Defenseman Zach Redmond suited up for the Avalanche on Thursday for the first time this season, replacing Nate Guenin in the lineup. Redmond played on the third defensive pairing with Brandon Gormley and finished with a hit and a blocked shot in 9:14 of ice time.

The 6-foot-2, 205-pound rear guard began the 2015-16 campaign with the San Antonio Rampage of the American Hockey League before being recalled by the Avs on Nov. 12. He had seven points (three goals and four assists) and a plus-6 rating in 11 games for the Rampage.

After signing as a free agent in the summer of 2014, Redmond was on Colorado's roster for all of last season and recorded five goals and 15 assists in 59 contests.

Roy said Thursday morning that it would be a game-time decision on if Redmond or Nate Guenin would play on the third defensive pairing. Guenin had appeared in the past three contests, but Roy ended up giving Redmond a shot in the lineup.

Redmond had been a healthy scratch in Colorado's previous two games.

LANDESKOG RETURNS TO THE LINEUP

After serving a two-game suspension, Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog returned to the lineup and his spot on the top forward line.

Landeskog was the left wing of a group that included centers Matt Duchene and Nathan MacKinnon. He finished with one assist and had game highs with six shots and seven hits.

The offensive trio was first put together in the third period versus the New York Rangers on Nov. 6. They combined for two goals and four assists in the next two full games before Landeskog received a match penalty and was later suspended for an illegal check to the head of Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand on Nov. 10.

It was the first time in Landeskog's career that he missed a game because of something other than an injury. He only missed 13 contests in his first four years in the league.

"That's definitely the situation that is different because you're not sitting up there with an injury," Landeskog said Thursday morning. "You're sitting there just healthy and ready to go, but you're still not in the lineup."

The Stockholm, Sweden, native was the ironman on the Avalanche before the suspension. He had played in 178 consecutive games dating back to the 2013-14 season.

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