Bad news Avalanche fans, Colorado will have to go without the services of Matt Duchene for the next four-weeks after he was diagnosed with an MCL sprain suffered after a collision Saturday with teammate Jami McGinn.
Duchene leads the Avs with 70 points and will miss the remaining regular season games and the first round of the playoffs. Colorado is currently on a playoff collision course with the Chicago Blackhawks, who are also bereft with injuries having lost Patrick Kane until most likely the beginning of the playoffs and captain Jonathan Toews now out with a shoulder injury. The Avs have done well against their new division rivals this season, and the Blackhawks have kind of meandered through the season with injuries and a slight case of Cup hangover to the 100 point threshold.
They are still an impressive bunch, but the Avs chances against the defending champs have increased with the reorganization of the Colorado front office and a much higher level of play from the defensemen and starting goaltender Semyon Varlamov.
Duchene is a blow the Avs didn’t want to take as they try to capture second place in the Central Division and home ice in the playoffs. His experience and skills leave a hole to be filled and it is a good thing that PA Parenteau will hopefully be back in the lineup by the end of the regular season, according to Coach Patrick Roy.
Luckily the Avs are deep with forwards so they do have capable players to fill in the gap, but losing their star forward is dent in their playoff plans. Duchene said via Twitter that he hopes to be back ahead of schedule and that the possibility of missing the first round “has been devastating.” This is an injury he has experienced before so hopefully he can catch a break in rehabbing it with some prior knowledge in how to do it. Colorado could use home-ice advantage and a Duchene clone, but they may have to settle with home-ice and an adjustment to the line. Coach Roy said during Monday’s practice he plans to put Nathan MacKinnon in Duchene’s spot for now.
The Avs are currently one point ahead of the Blackhawks in the division with 100 points. They could still mathematically catch the St. Louis Blues, but that is a tall order given the strong season long play of the Blues and the tie-breaker they also own if it were to come down to it.