Colorado Avalanche Matt Duchene celebrates his game winning shootout goal against the Vancouver Canucks during NHL hockey action at GM Place in Vancouver, Tuesday, April 6, 2010. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
DENVER - Colorado Avalanche rookie Matt Duchene says he will be ready for the playoff opener in San Jose despite a torso injury.
Duchene skated Tuesday and said afterward he's "excited to get going." The Avalanche face the Sharks on Wednesday.
Colorado will be without forward Peter Mueller, who will not be making the trip. He has been sidelined with a head injury after a hit along the boards against San Jose on April 4. Avalanche coach Joe Sacco said there is no timetable for Mueller's return.
Duchene, a rookie of the year candidate, hurt his torso in a centre-ice collision against Edmonton last Wednesday. He briefly played Friday against Chicago, but left when the injury flared up again. Duchene finished the season with the most points (55) among NHL rookies.