If Matt Duchene wanted immediate revenge against the Colorado Avalanche, he couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity.
In his first two games as a member of the Ottawa Senators, Duchene faced his former team in a back-to-back set against the Avalanche. Funny how things work out, right?
Well, when you dig deeper, the situation is a little less scripted. He didn’t face his former teammates once in Ottawa and once in Colorado; instead, the two teams went all the way to Sweden for overseas games in November. One can imagine that this experience cut down on some of that awkwardness – that “first game in Colorado in the road locker room” will have to wait – but it also made it less-than-perfect.
Still, you might be wondering how it went for Duchene.
In his case, it’s something of a good news/bad news situation.
Duchene’s team won in both cases. The Senators took Friday’s contest 4-3 in OT and 4-3 on Saturday.
After going even (7-7) in the faceoff dot on Friday, Duchene reminded that he has quietly become one of the better guys at winning draws, going 11-3 during Saturday’s win. That second contest also gave the impression that he’s starting to settle in with the Sens, as he fired eight shots on goal in 16 minutes and 19 seconds of ice time.
Following the win – and also considering the travel – Duchene joked that he might “sleep for five days” when he gets home:
So far, it looks like Duchene is lining up with Alex Burrows and Mike Hoffman. Considering the amount of space Duchene could open up with his speed and the shooting talent of Hoffman, that duo is particularly intriguing for the Sens.
Duchene wasn’t able to score a goal or an assist in either of the two games. If you’re the type who seeks instant gratification (or gambled on him big in Daily Fantasy), then that has to have been frustrating.
Plus/minus is a borderline obnoxious stat at times, but some will harp on his combined minus -3 in the two games against the Avalanche in Sweden.
On a personal note, he looks kind of weird as number 95. Agree/disagree?
While Duchene’s duo of debut games were a mixed bag, Kyle Turris enjoyed a more straightforward good time during his first game with the Nashville Predators.
Turris was named the first star of the Predators’ 5-4 shootout win against the Pittsburgh Penguins, and it wasn’t just because locals are so excited about how Turris can boost scoring. The 28-year-old scored a goal and an assist in that high-scoring, exciting game in Nashville.
Peter Laviolette wasn’t shy about deploying Turris. While overtime naturally enhances his ice time, it’s worth noting that Turris logged 21:38 TOI. About the only bummer was that he only received 1:18 of his time on the power play, and he might not be on the top unit for a while. (That could change if Laviolette decides to go with a four forward setup on the PP, but that would make for the bold move of choosing one of P.K. Subban or Roman Josi.)
Here’s the first goal of Turris’ Nashville tour:
A second line of Turris, Craig Smith, and Kevin Fiala seems awfully intriguing. Both Smith and Fiala could really benefit from Turris’ presence, as each guy already generates chances. Turris might just be able to add that “finishing touch” to their games.
The beauty of the Turris – Duchene – Avalanche trade is that everyone, to an extent, came out a “winner” on paper. Just considering the bouquet of futures Colorado GM Joe Sakic managed under all that duress.
Still, the big names involved will be judged by both individual and team factors. Each showed signs of doing well on a personal level, and their teams must have been delighted to go 3-for-3 so far.