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Knee injury expected to sideline Matt Duchene for the next 4 weeks

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It’s official, the Colorado Avalanche are heading to the playoffs.

But all is not well in Avalanche territory.

The team announced Monday that leading scorer Matt Duchene is expected to miss four weeks with a knee injury.

Duchene hurt his knee in a collision with linemate Jamie McGinn on his first shift of Colorado’s playoff-clinching victory over the San Jose Sharks on Saturday. Duchene was able to skate to the bench under his own power, but did not return to the game.

If there is an silver lining for the Avalanche, it is that they did get a reinforcement of sorts at center; as John Mitchell returned Saturday from an injury of his own, contributing to the win with a goal and an assist.

"Obviously, it's a significant loss for our team if he's out for an extended period of time," Mitchell said of Duchene. "But we've had injuries during the year and we've had plenty of guys coming in and stepping up and filling roles and we've done OK. That's going to have to happen again, I guess."

If Duchene’s recovery follows the projected timeline, he will likely miss the rest of the regular season, and at least the first round of the playoffs; a likely matchup against the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks; who are dealing with several injuries of their own.

The Avs may get another reinforcement for the stretch run, as forward P.A. Parenteau (who is recovering from a knee injury of his own) resumed skating on Monday.

The injury-depleted Avalanche next play Tuesday, when they take on the Columbus Blue Jackets.