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Duchene game-time decision for Avalanche in Game 6

by Dan Myers

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Colorado Avalanche forward Matt Duchene will be a game-time decision in Game 6 of their Western Conference First Round series against the Minnesota Wild (9 p.m. ET; CNBC, TSN, RDS2, ALT- FS-N).

The Avalanche lead the best-of-7 series 3-2.

After nearly a week of skating on his own, Duchene joined his teammates for the morning skate prior to Game 5 in Denver on Saturday, fueling speculation he might be ready to rejoin the lineup.

Avalanche coach Patrick Roy ruled him out Saturday following the skate, but made no such declaration Monday at Xcel Energy Center.

"He's going to meet [Avalanche team] Dr. [Andrew] Parker in the next hour and he's going to do the warm-up and if he feels ready, he'll go and if he's not, he's not," Roy said.

Duchene led the Avalanche in scoring with 70 points during the regular season and skated on their second line during the morning skate Monday, between left wing Ryan O'Reilly and right wing PA Parenteau.

Roy wouldn't elaborate on what Duchene would bring to the lineup if he is in it, joking he'd find a spot "somewhere on the top-four lines if he's in."

"I'd rather not speculate, is he going to be in, is he not. Right now, this is our lineup. If [Duchene] is in, he's in, if not, he's not and we'll keep going the same way we were."

Colorado has a chance to close out the Wild with a win in Game 6, but Roy said he isn't concerned about trying to end their season. Instead, the focus is more on the game itself.

"I'm not thinking about that at all," Roy said. "This is a result. It's only a result. It's what we're going to have to do for 60 minutes-plus. That's what we're going to focus on. We know we're going to have to be desperate ourselves."

Minnesota isn't expected to make any lineup changes, but knows it must bring its best effort to force a Game 7 back at Pepsi Center on Wednesday night.

"I think everybody has their focus in the right place," Wild forward Kyle Brodziak said. "We have to throw everything we have at them and be confident if we do that, we're going to see the result that we want."

Wild coach Mike Yeo made sure assistant coach Darby Hendrickson and hockey operations advisor Andrew Brunette were front and center during their skate Monday morning. Hendrickson and Brunette played on Minnesota's 2002-03 team that won six elimination games. The Wild became the only team in NHL history to erase back-to-back 3-1 series deficits in advancing to the Western Conference Final.

"I purposely asked those guys to make sure they were taking the time to talk to a lot of guys this morning," Yeo said. "Just even a reminder, to talk to a guy like that and [assistant coach] Darryl Sydor, a guy who has won two Stanley Cups. We've got guys on our staff that have reached the end, and reached the pinnacle and seen the highs of those moments. But in order to get to those moments, you have to go through some other parts like we're facing right now."

Here are the projected lineups:


Gabriel Landeskog - Paul Stastny - Nathan MacKinnon

Ryan O'Reilly - Matt Duchene - PA Parenteau

Jamie McGinn - Joey Hishon - Maxime Talbot

Cody McLeod - Marc-Andre Cliche - Patrick Bordeleau

Jan Hejda - Erik Johnson

Nate Guenin - Ryan Wilson

Andre Benoit - Nick Holden

Semyon Varlamov

Jean-Sebastien Giguere

Scratched: Reto Berra, Paul Carey, Brad Malone, Stefan Elliott

Injured: Tyson Barrie (knee), John Mitchell (concussion), Cory Sarich (back), Alex Tanguay (hip)


Zach Parise - Mikael Granlund - Jason Pominville

Matt Moulson - Mikko Koivu - Charlie Coyle

Nino Niederreiter - Erik Haula - Justin Fontaine

Dany Heatley - Kyle Brodziak - Cody McCormick

Ryan Suter - Jonas Brodin

Marco Scandella - Jared Spurgeon

Clayton Stoner - Nate Prosser

Darcy Kuemper

Ilya Bryzgalov

Scratched: Mike Rupp, Stephane Veilleux, Jonathon Blum

Injured: Niklas Backstrom (abdominal), Keith Ballard (groin), Josh Harding (illness), Jason Zucker (quad)

Suspended: Matt Cooke

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