Matt Duchene Announces Himself In A Big Way With Dominant Game 2 Performance

By Dan Dukart on April 13, 2019 at 12:11 am
Matt Duchene scores his first career playoff goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning

Kim Klement – USA TODAY Sports

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Matt Duchene has officially announced his arrival.

In his 10th career playoff game, Duchene scored his first career playoff goal and added three assists for good measure in the Blue Jackets' huge 5-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Duchene, who has had a career defined by regular season successes and a lack of playoff success, was dominant throughout the game and made some Blue Jackets history in the process. Worth noting: through his first nine playoff games, Duchene had tallied a pedestrian (for a player of his ilk) six points, all assists. 

That changed in Game 2.

In addition, Duchene's three assists – all primary assists – set a franchise record.

Duchene opened the game by making a strong play along the boards, sending a centering feed for Cam Atkinson, who scored his first goal of the playoffs.

Building on a 1-0 lead, Duchene showed off his face-off prowess to win a power play draw back to Zach Werenski, who found pay dirt.

Early in the second period, Werenski found Artemi Panarin, whose shot was stopped by Andrei Vasilevskiy. Duchene was there, however, to clean up the rebound and sweep it under the netminder's flailing body.

After the Lightning and Blue Jackets traded goals, Duchene made a sublime feed to find Panarin, in what will probably be the easiest goal the Russian will ever score. Duchene brilliantly found quiet ice on the weak side, and made an easy (but impressive) one-touch pass to find a wide open Panarin for the layup.

Duchene's pending contract situation is up in the air. There's no guarantee he'll be back with Columbus this fall. But when the Blue Jackets gave up a lot of assets to trade for this player, this is what they knew they could be acquiring. With his dynamic skill level, it was only a matter of time before he would produce in the playoffs. Through two playoff games, the Blue Jackets are certainly pleased with their acquisition.  

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