A split second after the final buzzer Saturday, the puck entered the Edmonton Oilers' net, denying Matt Duchene an empty-net goal that would have solidified his player-of-the-game honors.

No matter. The Pepsi Center crowd was ecstatic over the Avalanche's thrilling 3-1 victory over the up-and-coming Oilers, and the 22-year-old Duchene knew he had outplayed his most obvious peers, including four fellow Canadians he will compete with for a roster spot at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Duchene, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2009 NHL draft, had the game-winning assist and was unquestionably better than Edmonton's three No. 1 overall picks: forwards Taylor Hall (2010), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (2011) and Nail Yakupov (2012).