Colorado Avalanche’s Matt Duchene ends scoring slump at Detroit Red Wings’ expense
By BRENT W. NEW
DENVER — Matt Duchene raised his arms and exhaled as he circled around the net following his first goal since Feb. 19.
What he calls the “worst slump” of his life is finally over.
Duchene scored for the first time in 12 games and the Colorado Avalanche beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-1 on Wednesday night.
“I think you could tell by my reaction how relieved I was,” Duchene said. “I don’t know if I’ve ever scored a goal that felt better than that one.”
Calvin Pickard stopped 27 shots, J.T. Compher scored his first NHL goal and Carl Soderberg added his first in 18 games as the NHL-worst Avalanche won at the Pepsi Center for the third time in four games. They are 11-22-2 at home this season.
“There were a lot of red jerseys in the stands, so it’s kind of interesting. But I thought third period, especially when we got going, our fans were incredible,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. “We’ve just got to give them something to cheer about.”
Andreas Athanasiou scored for the Red Wings, who, like their once-hated rival, are well out of the playoff hunt. Jimmy Howard made 26 saves in his second start since returning from a knee injury that had kept him out since Dec. 20.
The defeat ended Detroit’s nine-game point streak (6-0-3) against the Avalanche.
“It doesn’t matter who we’re playing,” Howard said, “we’ve got to come out and we’ve got to be ready to play.”
Duchene, one of the Colorado players linked to trade speculation before staying put at the deadline, flicked a wrist shot high and past Howard to tie the game midway through the second.
Then, with 3:49 gone in the third, Compher sent a wrister over Howard’s shoulder to put the Avalanche in front 2-1. Soderberg extended the lead 1:55 later with his sixth goal of the season.