ST. PAUL, Minn. — Matt Duchene skated hard Monday morning, but whether he plays in Game 6 for the Avalanche against the Minnesota Wild will remain a mystery until shortly before the puck drops (7 p.m. MDT).
Avs coach Patrick Roy said his team's leading scorer from the regular season will take the warm-up before the game and, if he feels well enough, will play for the first time in about a month following a left knee injury.
"And if he doesn't, he won't," Roy said. "But if he plays, we'll find a spot for him somewhere on our top four lines."
Duchene, who wasn't available to the media, skated at practice with Ryan O'Reilly and P.A. Parenteau. Two forwards — Jamie McGinn and Cody McLeod — did not skate, but are expected to play.
Roy doesn't want his team focused on any one player, nor does he want his team to fixate on possibly closing out the series with the Wild. Well, that's the goal, but Roy said it's important to see the trees, not the forest, in the playoffs.
"What we have to focus on is the present moment. We have to focus on what we have to do on the ice, every shift," Roy said. "I think we're going to be better prepared, period, than we were (in Games 3 and 4 in Minnesota). We're going to have to be good on the wall, we're going to have to push their D out of the zone, we're going to have to be solid in the three zones. In the neutral zone, the area where the decisions are to be made, we have to decide: Are we going to forecheck or are we going to go back in our end? If we go up, let's forecheck and put pressure on their guys.
"Those two games here where we learned a lot about the playoffs. They saw what the playoffs are. I was really proud of our players how we bounced back in Game 5. It could have been easy to feel sorry for ourselves, but it's not what our players want. Our players want to keep playing, and I think they've been learning a lot."
If the Avs win, it will be their first playoff series victory since beating the Wild in a 2008 first-round series.