Duchene lifts Sens over Avs in first game vs Colorado
OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — Matt Duchene’s first game as a father couldn’t have gone much better.
He even got to celebrate among old friends.
Duchene had missed the previous three games as his wife Ashley gave birth to the couple’s first son, Beau. It was also his fourth game against the Avalanche since being traded to Ottawa in November 2017. He also scored twice in Denver on Oct. 26.
“It’s a very special feeling,” Duchene said. “My main focus coming in today was to just try and meld back into the lineup the best I could and fit in with what the guys had been doing on the road. They had been playing so well.”
Nikita Zadorov and Nathan MacKinnon scored for the Avalanche, who wrapped up a five-game trip. Semyon Varlamov stopped 26 shots.
It was a difficult trip for the Avalanche, as they finished with a 1-4-0 record.
“It’s a disappointing road trip because I thought we started it playing some good hockey and didn’t get rewarded,” Colorado coach Jared Bednar said. “I didn’t like our game in Montreal, really liked it in Toronto and not ready to play (Wednesday).”
Duchene put the Senators ahead 4-1 with his 19th goal of the season midway through the third period. Zack Smith had fired a puck that went wide of the net off the back boards, and Duchene picked it up and scored short side.
The Avalanche appeared to cut the lead in half minutes later, but it was waived off upon review because the left post was off the mooring.
MacKinnon had a power-play goal with four minutes remaining and Varlamov on the bench for the two-man advantage. The Avalanche had another opportunity after Christian Jaros sent the puck over the glass, but Colorado couldn’t capitalize. Duchene scored into an empty net with 1:02 left.
Ottawa has won three of its past four games, and now it has Duchene and Thomas Chabot back in the lineup. Chabot returned after missing the last eight games with an upper-body injury.
“A guy like that makes plays that can win games,” coach Guy Boucher said. “Even when he doesn’t have a goal or a point, it’s the minutes he plays, the neutral zone transitions, play in the offensive zone, momentum, you can’t measure his impact. That’s why when you lose a guy like that it’s gigantic.”
NOTES: Nick Paul was a healthy scratch for the Senators. … Ottawa goalie Craig Anderson missed his 11th straight game due to a concussion.
Avalanche: Return home to face the Kings on Saturday.
Senators: Play at Carolina on Friday night.