Anthony Duclair was spectacular on the second line for the Columbus Blue Jackets against the Avs.
The Columbus Blue Jackets needed to shake things up after a slow start to the season. They needed overtime to beat a bad Detroit team and were run out of the building by the Carolina Hurricanes. Moving Anthony Duclair up to the second line was exactly the change the team needed to spark Alexander Wennberg and Nick Foligno.
Wennberg and Foligno combined for five points but Duclair’s speed and attacking mentality started many of the opportunities that Foligno finished including the first goal of the game. Duclair cut through the neutral zone with the puck and sped by two Avs players as he drove the puck deep.
Duclair carrying the puck through the neutral zone and deep below the goal line caused the Avs defense to be out of position. The play resulted with two Avs players chasing the puck and Duclair below the net, leading to a wide open passing lane for Wennberg, and an easy finish for Foligno.
On the second goal Duclair wasn’t credited with an assist but his quick work below the goal line helped rescue the puck that the Jackets lost on the face-off. That take away led to the opportunity that Foligno buried to extend the lead to 4-2.
Defensively Duclair played well the whole night when put in those situations. The Foligno – Wennberg – Duclair line started a majority of their shifts in the offensive zone so there wasn’t a ton of defensive pressure on him.
Duclair ended the night with a plus three rating with only 15 minutes of ice time. He did log some second unit power play time but with how well he played, I would expect his minutes to rise especially as the chemistry builds with Wennberg.
The performance was exactly what the Jackets needed to not only get a win, but to get their number two center making $4.9 million a season going again. Duclair is beginning to look like the steal of the offseason.