There was a time when Matt Duchene was thought to be a bad omen for a team with playoff hopes.
That time seems to be over. If you doubt it, ask fans of the Ottawa Senators. They have started charting the playoff points of some of their dearly and recently departed stars like Duchene, who has exploded for two goals and three assists during the Columbus Blue Jackets‘ stunning 3-0 series lead over the Stanley Cup favourites from Tampa Bay.
Mark Stone, another ex-Senator, leads all playoff scorers with eight points heading into Monday’s games. Defenceman Erik Karlsson has five for San Jose, although the Sharks are down 2-1 to Stone’s Vegas Golden Knights and Karlsson has been suspect (and perhaps hurt) in his defensive play.
Stone and Karlsson, of course, are already playoff-proven from their years in Ottawa.
It’s Duchene who has rid himself of the ‘curse’ that his teams couldn’t go anywhere. In the Jackets’ 3-1, Game 3 win over the Lightning, Duchene opened the scoring with a rebound goal off his backhand that was reminiscent of his highlight-reel goal for Ottawa against Philadelphia in late November, except that on the Flyers’ goal, Duchene whacked the puck out of mid-air.