Stockholm, Sweden – The Colorado Avalanche fell 4-3 in overtime to Matt Duchene and the Ottawa Senators on Friday night in Stockholm, Sweden in the first of the NHL’s two-game Global Series.
With the page officially turned on the Duchene saga, this was the first game the coaching staff needed to start assessing their roster to start to find a replacement for the role that Duchene filled for the nearly nine years. And at least for tonight, Alexander Kerfoot filled that role.
Kerfoot had two points (1G, 1A) and three shots on goal in 14:56 of ice time tonight, and was a threat all game long.
“I thought he was good tonight” head coach Jared Bednar said. “I thought he was making plays out there, he was playing dangerous. I liked his commitment to come back into the d-zone”
Knowing the Duchene situation was bound to end in a trade, Kerfoot was brought in as a college UFA over the summer to give the Avs some more skilled depth at center. And Kerfoot knows that. This is the exact situation in which the team is looking for him to step up.
“I mean, I think that’s what you want as a hockey player,” Kerfoot said. “To be able to play against anyone. You don’t want to be sheltered in your minutes, you want the coach’s trust, and to be reliable at both ends of the ice, and that’s what I’m trying to do.”
And while it was a good night for him, it’s just that, one good night. In order for the Ads to have continued success without Duchene, it’s going to take a group effort. But having players like Kerfoot chipping in, along with other rookies Tyson Jost, J.T. Compher and newcomer Vladislav Kamenev, who is expected to join the Avalanche next week, things are going exactly as planned.
“I’m obviously not gonna step in and do what [Duchene] did,” Kerfoot told BSN Denver. “He’s been in this league a long time, and he’s a hell of a hockey player. And I think that a lot of guys are going to have to step up to fill his void.”
The Avs showed resilience tonight against their former franchise cornerstone and his new team. Colorado came back from a deficit two times to force overtime. In addition to Kerfoot’s two-point night, the Avs got contributions from Nail Yakupov, and Nathan MacKinnon. Avs’ new defensemen Samuel Girard also picked up his first point in an Avs uniform, showing off his skating ability and creativity before setting up the shot that led to the Kerfoot tip.
Colorado’s top line stayed hot as all three players picked up a point on a nice passing play that tied the game up late in the third period.
The Avalanche will take on the Senators for the second of a back to back tomorrow night at 7 PM Local time (11 AM MST) in Stockholm, Sweden.