ST. PAUL, Minn. – Colorado Avalanche right wing PA Parenteau has had a tough go with injuries since the turn of the calendar year, but his goal in Game 5 might have been the turning point that he and the Avs needed for tonight's Game 6 and for the rest of their playoffs.
Parenteau scored the tying goal with 1:14 left in the third period on Saturday to help the Avs force overtime and eventually pick up the win in the extra session.
"It was pretty cool. It was a big goal for our team," Parenteau said after Monday's morning skate at Xcel Energy Center. "It put us back in the game, right where we wanted to be.
"I had a couple of knee injuries over the year. It was a tough year for me overall so it was real nice to get that goal and get my team going."
The Hull, Quebec native's first injury was Dec. 29 against Winnipeg and forced him to miss the next 10 games. He returned to the lineup ahead of schedule on Jan. 21 and played in 15 of the next 17 contests before injuring his other knee March 10 against the same Jets team.
Before the second injury, Parenteau appeared to have found his scoring touch as he had six points (four goals, two assists) in the seven games before suffering the setback.
Parenteau was able to come back and play in the final two games of the regular season, but his goal against the Wild in the pivotal Game 5 was his first point since his return.
"It feels really good," Parenteau said of his knee. "The first two games when I came back I was still feeling it, but now it's all gone and I'm feeling better every game."
Now that he has one goal, Parenteau said he hopes more points follow to help Colorado's offense that has seen a lot of production from just one line in the postseason.
"The last time I got hurt it took me a few games, but I finally got going," Parenteau said. "Before I got hurt I was playing pretty good hockey so hopefully it’s the same thing this time."
The Avs' top scoring line of Nathan MacKinnon, Paul Stastny and Gabriel Landeskog has been dominant in the series with the Wild, but the other three forward combinations have struggled to have the same success. MacKinnon (10 points) and Stastny (eight points) are first and second in the league in scoring, while Landeskog is tied for the team lead in goals (three) with Stastny.
Parenteau has been playing on the right side of a line with center Ryan O'Reilly and left wing Jamie McGinn for much of these playoffs. The three forwards have contributed offense with a combined eight points (four goals, four assists) in the series, but an offensive breakout by the trio would add some secondary scoring in an important Game 6.
The Wild is facing elimination this evening as the Avalanche leads the series 3-2, thanks in part to Parenteau's key goal in Game 5.
"They are going to be on their heels a little bit. They're facing elimination tonight. I think that is the reason why you play like that, play a little desperate," Parenteau said. "We have to match their intensity. We're looking forward to the challenge."
GAME-TIME DECISION FOR DUCHENE
Avalanche forward Matt Duchene will be a game-time decision for this evening's Game 6 against the Minnesota Wild.
"He is going to do the warm-up and if he feels ready he'll go. If he's not, he's not," head coach Patrick Roy said in his pregame news conference.
|Matt Duchene |
Duchene has missed the first five games of the series and final eight games of the season with a knee injury he suffered March 29 against San Jose. The team said he would miss roughly four weeks and last Saturday marked four weeks since the injury.
The center led the team in scoring during the season with a career-high 70 points (23 goals and 47 assists) in 71 games.
According to Roy, Duchene has been progressing well each day since he started skating again last Monday in Minnesota. Duchene took part in his first full morning skate before Game 5 at Pepsi Center on Saturday, and he again participated fully in this morning's pregame practice at Xcel Energy Center.
Roy said this morning he didn't want to give a possible lineup that has Duchene in it and instead wants to go under the assumption that the forward wouldn't play.
"I would rather not speculate, 'is he going to be in? Is he not?," Roy said. "Right now this is our lineup. If Dutchy's in then he is in, but if not then we'll keep going the same way we were."
However, Roy mentioned on Sunday before the team's flight to the Twin Cities that Duchene would likely see time on the power play and start on the fourth line if he does play. If Duchene keeps progressing well as the game goes along, it's very possible that he could move up in the lineup and play with Ryan O'Reilly and Jamie McGinn, his linemates before the injury.