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Duchene soaks in series winner: 'It's just elation'

Ashley Potts / National Hockey League / Getty

Matt Duchene became an instant hero in Dallas early Saturday morning, as his double overtime goal in Game 6 eliminated the Colorado Avalanche and sent the Stars to the Western Conference Final.

Duchene let out an emotional celebration after depositing a loose puck with eight minutes left in the game's fifth period but had difficulty putting the moment into words.

"I don't even know what (I did)," Duchene said, per's Ryan Boulding. "I know I ended up on my knees like last time I got one in overtime, but I have no idea, to be honest with you. It's just elation, right?"

"It just popped out to me, shot it in, and then blacked out, pretty much," he told the NHL on TNT crew after the win.

Duchene's tally is the third playoff overtime winner of his career, but he described this one as extra special.

"This is only the second time I've been past the first round in my career," he said, according to The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun. "Now we're going to the conference finals. At 33, I think there's a certain level of appreciation that you have that you wouldn't have had as a young player."

Duchene last reached the second round in 2019 as a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets. He joined the Stars last summer on a one-year, $3-million deal after the Nashville Predators bought him out with three years remaining on his contract.

"(Duchene) came in, and he really changed our team," general manager Jim Nill said. "Just a different dimension. Another element of offense for us. And he's bought into how we've got to play, too. He had to change his game. So, it's been a good fit."

Duchene registered 65 points in the 2023-24 regular season and has added six points in the playoffs.

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