In a matchup of tired teams, Matt Duchene and the rest of the Colorado Avalanche found enough energy for a victory.
Matt Duchene scored twice and the Avalanche held on to beat the Arizona Coyotes 3-2 on Saturday night.
“He was good tonight,” Colorado coach Jared Bednar said, “hard on pucks, strong on pucks, kept his feet moving down low and then made some plays.”
The Coyotes were coming off a 1-5 road trip and the Avalanche had played Friday night, losing 1-0 at home to Winnipeg.
“We didn’t want to sink below .500,” Duchene said. “I think we felt robbed a little bit last night, frustrated, not scoring, but tonight (we were able) to find goals when we needed them.”
Rene Bourque also scored for the Avalanche, who got 23 saves from backup goalie Calvin Pickard.
The Coyotes took the lead on Radim Vrbata’s goal barely five minutes into the first period but the Avalanche scored the next three before Tobias Rieder made it a one-goal game with 4:04 to play.
“It never had that feeling that we were going to lose it,” Duchene said. “We all felt confident in what we were doing out there. … Those last four minutes were tense but we definitely did the job.”
Louis Domingue had 31 saves for the Coyotes.
“It’s one of those games you’re just pushing and prodding,” Arizona coach Dave Tippett said. “You can see there’s not a lot of energy in your group but you’ve still got to try to find a way to win.”
Pickard, in his second start of the season, was in goal because regular starter Semyon Varlamov played Friday night.
Duchene’s wraparound goal from in front of the net tied it at 1-1 at 5:51 of the second period.
The Avalanche scored twice in the third period. Borque’s power play goal put Colorado ahead 1:42 into the final period and Duchene added his second goal of the night, and fifth of the season, halfway through the period to make it 3-1.
Arizona scored on a slick play in an otherwise sloppy first period. Moving down the ice, toward the Colorado net, Martin Hanzal gave a backhanded pass to Max Domi. Domi relayed the puck quickly to Vrbata, whose right wrister past Pickard made it 1-0.
In the second period, Colorado’s Mikhail Grigorenko had the puck behind the net and got it to Duchene who, with his back to the Arizona goalie, reached around and knocked the puck into the right side of the net to tie it.
Colorado took the lead 1:42 into the final period when Nathan McKinnon slammed the puck hard off the boards behind the net. The deflection came right to Borque, who knocked it in.
Duchene scored on a breakaway with 8:36 left to make it 3-1. Oliver Ekman-Larsson took the puck on a neutral zone faceoff and sent a long pass to Rieder, who broke free for the 1-on-1 goal to slice it to 3-2. Arizona emptied the net but couldn’t tie it in a frantic final few minutes.
Duchene’s uncle Newell Brown is a Coyote assistant coach.
“It’s always fun to play against him,” Duchene said, “and obviously we chat a lot and he’s been a great mentor for me, so it is always good to catch up with him.”