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Duchene: Avs loss to Iginla-less Flames ‘a joke’

Pittsburgh Penguins v Colorado Avalanche

DENVER, CO - MARCH 03: Matt Duchene #9 of the Colorado Avalanche prepares for a face off against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Pepsi Center on March 3, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. The Penguins defeated the Avalanche 5-1. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

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Although the it’s not getting much attention in Calgary because of something else that happened last night, the Flames’ match against Colorado got under the skin of Avalanche forward Matt Duchene and defenseman Erik Johnson.

Even with Jarome Iginla being listed as a healthy scratch in the lead-up to his trade, Calgary still managed to take a 2-0 lead in the first period that was the catalyst for its eventual 4-3 victory over Colorado.

“It’s a joke. It’s embarrassing,” Duchene said in a Denver Post report. “We put ourselves being the 8-ball every night, every single night. Enough is enough.

“I don’t know what’s going on. It’s a joke . . . They get in at 3 in the morning (today) after a loss and they want it more than us. It just can’t be that way. We played well the next 40 but we lost by a goal because we allowed two early ones.”

Avalanche coach Joe Sacco said that his team has addressed their first period shortcomings and “try not to make a major issue” so that it doesn’t consume them. However, Johnson, like Duchene seemed beyond frustrated after last night’s loss.

“I don’t know how many more times we can talk about having poor starts and not being ready to play in the first period. We’re sick and tired of it, but it’s up to us to change it,” Johnson said.

Johnson added that they’ve talked about it enough but ultimately “talk is cheap.”

The Avalanche are dead last in the Western Conference with a 11-17-4 record. Even if they win all of their remaining contests, the best they could manage is 58 points this season.