The Avalanche clinched a spot in the playoffs - yet the odds may now be against them in their endeavor to win the Stanley Cup.
Electrifying center Matt Duchene collided with teammate Jamie McGinn on his first shift of the game - hitting knee to knee - and although he was able to skate off the ice under his own power he did it gingerly. He would not return to the game and he will undergo an MRI Sunday morning to determine the extent of the injury.
Losing Duchene - who leads the team in assists (47) and is tied for third in goals (23) - would be a monumental setback for Colorado.
"It's obviously disappointing, because he's been playing so well. It's not good news for him and it's not good news for us," head coach Patrick Roy said.
It was discouraging moment in an overall crucial game. Colorado clinched a spot in the playoffs for the first time in four seasons. And depending on the diagnosis of that examination tomorrow - though Roy seems unfazed by it - the Avalanche will need to continue to play well without Duchene to secure a favorable seeding.
"I'm also a positive person. I believe he'll be back by the playoffs, that's just the way I am," the head coach asserted following their 3-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks. Roy recalled a similar experience in 2001. Forward Peter Forsberg ruptured his spleen in the Western Conference Finals and yet Colorado was able to pull together and win the Stanley Cup despite the significant loss.
"A team is a team. You have to go out there, play hard and find ways to win games. And that's what we're going to continue to do," he continued.
Duchene's teammates echoed their coaches sentiments. Though they wish the flukey occurrence hadn't happen, they know that the need to be confident that they'll be successful even minus their first-line center. Colorado has been without Paul Stastny, John Mitchell and P.A. Parenteau for a number of games during this season already due to injuries and somehow have found a way.
"We've certainly have adapted well and this doesn't change anything," captain Gabriel Landeskog said.
As the Avalanche will wait to see prognosis of Duchene they certainly won't stand idly by.