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game recap

Avalanche defeat Senators, spoil Duchene return

Ottawa forward scores twice; Rantanen has four points for Colorado to take NHL lead

by Rick Sadowski / NHL.com Correspondent

DENVER -- Matt Duchene scored two goals for the Ottawa Senators in his first game in Pepsi Center since his trade in a 6-3 loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Friday.

Mikko Rantanen had a goal and three assists to take over the NHL scoring lead with 20 points, and linemates Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog each had a goal and two assists for the Avalanche (7-2-2). Philipp Grubauer, in his first home start since being acquired from the Washington Capitals on June 23, made 21 saves.

"Obviously I'm just trying to help the team as much as I can in scoring and my all-around game, play defense as well," said Rantanen, who has five goals and 15 assists. "It's very important to win the hockey games. My linemates are helping me a lot. It's a lot of fun to play on a line with those two guys. The whole team is playing good right now. It's still early in the season so we have to keep going."

 

[WATCH: All Senators vs. Avalanche highlights]

 

Duchene, acquired by the Senators from the Avalanche in a three-team transaction with the Nashville Predators on Nov. 5, 2017, is one of 20 active NHL players to score at least one goal against all 31 teams. He was traded early in his ninth season with the Avalanche, who selected him in the first round (No. 3) of the 2009 NHL Draft.

Trailing 3-2, the Avalanche scored four times in the third period.

Video: OTT@COL: MacKinnon buries one-timer to extend lead

Carl Soderberg tied the game 3-3 at 1:00 on the power play, Landeskog converted Rantanen's pass for his ninth goal and a 4-3 Colorado lead at 6:14, and MacKinnon scored his ninth at 8:38 to make it 5-3. Matt Nieto scored his second at 15:33 for the 6-3 final score.

"I love watching our team play like that," Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. "The aggressiveness on our forecheck, hunting pucks down and staying on pucks, winning battles. Their reloads from the goal line to the tops of circles, the blue line and into the offensive zone, to turning pucks back.

"We were going to the net, there was a purpose. Ideally, you'd like to play like that 60 minutes every night but I don't know how feasible that is. But it's good to know that we have that in us."

The Landeskog-MacKinnon-Rantanen line combined for nine shots, three goals, seven assists and a plus-8 rating. MacKinnon is second in the NHL with 18 points. 

"They're good," Duchene said. "They're all coming into their own. I look at a guy like Mikko and the steps he's taken, they're unbelievable. He was outstanding tonight. He made a lot of that stuff happen tonight in particular. They're good. I mean, that's a line you've got to contain. It's the age of super lines right now and that's one of them."

Ryan Dzingel scored, and Craig Anderson made 31 saves for the Senators (4-4-1).

Dzingel was parked just outside the right post when he scored his third goal at 2:42 of the first period to give Ottawa a 1-0 lead.

Duchene, shortly after a brief tribute to him was shown on the video board, scored his second goal at 10:27 for a 2-0 lead. Cody Ceci's shot from the point appeared to enter the net off Duchene.

"My favorite part, for me, was the tribute and the reception from the fans," Duchene said. "Meant a lot to me. I teared up. I had so much emotion going until midway through the second. It was a bit of a grind."

The Avalanche made it 2-1 when Samuel Girard, who was acquired from the Predators in the Duchene trade, scored from the slot at 10:20 of the second period. It was his first goal and the first by an Avalanche defenseman this season.

But Duchene scored his third goal 12 seconds later for to give the Senators a 3-1 lead.

The Avalanche cut it to 3-2 at 14:32 when Rantanen scored on a one-timer from the right circle off a MacKinnon pass during a power play.

Video: OTT@COL: Rantanen rockets one-timer for PPG

 

They said it

"It was the hardest thing I've ever done, leaving here. It was something I never wanted to do, it was something I felt I had to do. Sometimes that's life and that's the business. Just the signs in warmup and the people that were being so kind meant a lot to me. You touch the puck, you're going to get booed. Avs fans are competitive and you kind of expect it." -- Senators forward Matt Duchene

Video: OTT@COL: Duchene nets White's feed for second goal

 

"We weren't ready to play in the first, we were sloppy with the puck, but the way we bounced back in the second and third periods, that's what winning hockey teams do." -- Avalanche forward Mikko Rantanen

 

Need to know

Senators forward Zack Smith sustained a broken facial bone in the third period and will return to Ottawa to be evaluated. … Ceci played 23:35 after missing four games with an upper-body injury. … Avalanche forward Tyson Jost sustained an undisclosed injury in the third and was being examined. … Tyson Barrie (three assists) moved past Sandis Ozolinsh into second place among defensemen in Avalanche history with 256 points (61 goals, 195 assists). John-Michael Liles leads with 275.

 

What's next

Senators: At the Vegas Golden Knights on Sunday (8 p.m. ET; SN1, TVAS, ATTSN-RM, NHL.TV)

Avalanche: At the Minnesota Wild on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; FS-N, ALT, NHL.TV) 

Video: Avalanche score four in the 3rd to rally past Sens

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