Avs hope to have rookie Duchene back for Game 1 despite torso injury

DENVER – The Colorado Avalanche remain hopeful that they’ll have rookie Matt Duchene back on the ice for the playoff opener against San Jose despite a torso injury.

Duchene skated Monday with no setbacks. Colorado will open its Western Conference quarter-final on the road against the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday.

The 19-year-old Duchene 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. He then sat out the regular-season finale.

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Duchene finished with the most points (55) among NHL rookies. He also was tied for most goals (24) with John Tavares of the New York Islanders.

The status of forward Peter Mueller remains uncertain. He’s been out with a head injury after a hit along the boards against San Jose on April 4.