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Tavares Injury Might Open Door for Duchene

Wednesday, 02.19.2014 / 3:30 PM MT
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2014 Olympics - Avalanche in Sochi

Canada center John Tavares on Wednesday suffered a leg injury in the second period against Latvia and will miss the rest of the 2014 Olympics.

That could mean more of an opportunity for Avalanche center Matt Duchene, who has been a healthy scratch for Canada in two of it four games in Sochi, including in Wednesday's 2-1 win.

Matt Duchene

Tavares was knocked from the game after taking a big hit from Latvia's Arturs Kulda, and he didn't return to the game after retreating to Canada's dressing room.

"He's got a leg injury; he's out for the tournament," Canada coach Mike Babcock said. "He'll be re-examined by the New York Islanders people, and I'm sure they'll have an announcement."

Tavares didn't yet have any points for the Canadians, but he does take with him back to the United States a plus-three rating. He also had six shots on goal while averaging 10:39 of ice time per game.

Duchene, making his Olympics debut, is plus-one so far in two games for Canada, with four shots on goal in 13:50 of ice time per game. He was a scratch in Canada's first preliminary round game against Norway before playing in its final two prelims against Austria and Finland.

Babcock has wrestled throughout the Olympics with a "In or out" lineup decision, and his choice in this situation will be closely analyzed over the next 24 hours.

Regardless, Duchene was in the stands for Wednesday's dramatic victory--the game was tied at 1-1 until late in the third period--and continued to show the sportsmanship and professionalism he's become known for with the Avalanche.

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