Sometimes the best remedy for a struggling team is to play one of the top squads, as the Colorado Avalanche did last night, taking on the NHL’s second-best team, the Detroit Red Wings, at the Pepsi Center. Unlike their last few games, the Avs showed up ready to play, leading the game 4-1 just 14 minutes in and eventually winning 5-4 (recap via Mile High Hockey). Second-year star Matt Duchene was the key to the early lead, scoring the Avs’ first and fourth goals in the first period. Duchene—who may be named to the NHL’s All Star team later today, according to The Denver Post—ended the night with two goals and an assist, and his line (Duchene, David Jones, and Tomas Fleischmann) scored three of the five goals.
It was an important win, although the Avs nonetheless sit 10 points behind the Vancouver Canucks in the Northwest Division. Still, this team has some big issues. “Our special teams need to be way better,” coach Joe Sacco tells NHL.com. “[But] when we play to our ability, especially with the way we’re playing 5-on-5 lately, we’re a very good team.”