Jets fall to Avs in SO
WINNIPEG—Matt Duchene breathed life into the Colorado Avalanche not once, not twice, but three times last night.
The centre scored two goals in regulation time, then added another in a shootout along with teammate P.A. Parenteau, as the Avs stopped a two-game losing skid with a 4-3 victory over the Winnipeg Jets.
Duchene finally stopped the bleeding with his team-leading 13th goal of the season at 15:08 of the first when he went in alone on Ondrej Pavelec and got a high shot past the netminder.
“We got behind the eight-ball in penalties,” noted Duchene, who hadn’t scored in seven games after returning from a stomach injury.
“They started really well. You’ve got to tip your hat sometimes,” he added.
“Getting that one kind of gave us some life and got the momentum going again, so it was a big goal.”
Duchene, who also had an assist, scored his second goal to give the Avalanche a 3-2 lead with 1.6 seconds left in the second period when he backhanded a rebound into the open side of the net as Pavelec tried to slide back.
Ryan O’Reilly had tied the game 2-2 at 14:27 and added an assist for the Avs (21-9-0).
Blake Wheeler scored twice, Michael Frolik added another, and Grant Clitsome had a pair of assists for Winnipeg (14-14-5).
Winnipeg used its fifth power play to tie the game 3-3 midway through the third period after Mark Scheifele sent a shot from the point that Wheeler put in past a screened Varlamov with two seconds left in a tripping penalty to Cory Sarich.
Jets’ coach Claude Noel lamented the loss of a point, but acknowledged Colorado’s difference-makers.
“Duchene is a good player and MacKinnon’s not a donkey, either,” he said.
The Jets also had lost to Western Conference rivals St. Louis 2-1 on Tuesday. They’re now just 6-11-4 against conference counterparts.
“Our division, our conference isn’t easy,” Wheeler stressed. “There aren’t any easy games.
“I think we’ve done a good job, we’ve risen to the challenge, but we’ve been taking positives out of losses too long,” he added.
“You’ve got to stay positive, and you’ve got to draw from the positives of the game because we did a lot of really good things, but we didn’t do enough to win the game and that’s the bottom line.”
Noel also was having a tough time focusing on the positives.
“We’re a .500 team and it’s not good enough,” he remarked. “This year in the conference we are in, it won’t come close.
“We know the urgency,” Noel added. “It has to come in our actions, not our words.
“Moral victories are empty.”
Elsewhere in the NHL, Philadelphia beat Montreal 2-1, St. Louis dumped Toronto 6-3, Calgary nipped Carolina 2-1 (OT), Ottawa edged Buffalo 2-1, and Boston doubled Edmonton 4-2.
San Jose beat Minnesota 3-1, Columbus doubled the N.Y. Rangers 4-2, Tampa Bay shaded Detroit 2-1 (SO), Nashville downed Dallas 3-1, and Phoenix dumped the N.Y. Islanders 6-3.