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Home Sweet Home

Avalanche Wins Fifth Straight, Third Consecutive At Pepsi Center

Friday, 01.22.2010 / 11:54 PM / Features
By Aaron Lopez  - Special to ColoradoAvalanche.com
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Home Sweet Home
Matt Duchene has done pretty much everything that’s been expected of him during his rookie season. He’s ranked at or near the top of the NHL’s rookie scoring chart for much of the season and has solidified the Avalanche’s No. 2 center spot behind Paul Stastny while also displaying a steadily improving two-way game.

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But a few days ago, following an Avalanche practice at Family Sports Center, Duchene was still bemoaning one fact. Despite all of his achievements this season, he still hadn’t been able to score goals on home ice at nearly the same rate as on the road.

The Haliburton, Ontario native has scored 12 goals during Colorado’s 28 road contests this season, but had tallied just once in his first 20 games at Pepsi Center.

“I really can’t put my finger on it,” Duchene said at the time. “Sometimes you just tend to simplify your game on the road, and maybe that’s why I’ve been having more success. Hopefully soon I can give the fans at home something to cheer about soon.”

Much to Duchene’s approval, that topic of conversation has now been rendered meaningless, as he has recorded three goals in a pair of games at Pepsi Center this week. The rookie scored twice in Colorado’s 6-0 home win against Edmonton on Monday and notched the game’s opening goal Friday night in Colorado’s 2-1 victory over the Nashville Predators.

We wanted to go into it on a roll like this, win a lot of our last games going into the break," Duchene said following tonight's game. "More importantly we want to come back from the break and pick up where we left off so that’s our goal right now.”

His increased production at home is a welcome sight, as Colorado has eight games remaining in Denver before the Olympic break in February.

Overall this season Duchene has totaled 21 points (12g/9a) in 28 road games and 13 points (4g/9a) in 22 home contests.

Five For Fighting...Plus Two
Fans watching tonight’s game witnessed two scraps, with the first pair of combatants being much more experience in dropping the gloves than the second.

First, David Koci and Wade Belak squared off in the opening frame just seconds after the Avalanche enforcer put a big hit on the Nashville forward.

Late in the first period, Wojtek Wolski went toe-to-toe with Predators forward Steve Sullivan. During a scramble in front of the Nashville goal, Wolski took an extra jab at the puck when it appeared to be frozen by netminder Pekka Rinne.

The Predators took exception, as Shea Weber first gave Wolski a quick shot before Sullivan jumped in. The gloves came off, and Wolski got the better of Sullivan during the bout. In addition to five minutes for fighting, Wolski was assessed an extra two minutes for slashing.

Stoa on the Score Sheet
On Thursday, the Avalanche placed forward Matt Hendricks on the injured reserve list with an ankle injury that Avalanche head coach Joe Sacco said would keep him sidelined for approximately a week.

To fill Hendricks’ forward spot, the Avalanche recalled Ryan Stoa from the Lake Erie Monsters on Friday morning (while also recalling defenseman Brett Skinner). Stoa was inserted into the lineup tonight and came away with his first NHL point. Playing just his third career game, the Bloomington, Minn., native picked up the secondary assist on Brandon Yip’s tally in the second period.
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