Duchene was originally expected to miss these two games with an oblique inury, but head coach Patrick Roy said yesterday that Duchene would travel with the team, likely practice and potentially play on Saturday versus the Kings.
“There’s no point in rushing this,” Roy said. “We need him at 100 percent, and after skating today, he realized he would not be able to play.”
Duchene had the best statistical season of his career in the shortened season scoring 17 goals and 43 points in 47 games. While other players who had strong 2012-13’s have dropped off this season, Duchene has elevated his play even further. He is the Avalanche’s leading goal scorer (12) and points leader (20) through 19 games.
Duchene’s absence will lead to more offensive opportunities for fellow centres Paul Stastny and first-overall pick Nathan MacKinnon. Stastny stepped up last night with a goal and an assist in a 5-1 win over the Blackhawks. MacKinnon had four shots on goal and a plus-1 rating in 17:47 TOI.
After the contest on Saturday in Los Angeles, the Avalanche have three days off to get home and prepare to face the St. Louis Blues at the Pepsi Center on Wednesday. Colorado and Duchene’s fantasy owners are hopeful that he will be in the lineup.