If you ever want to take the pulse of the Colorado Avalanche, you needn’t look any further than forward Matt Duchene. The Avs’ longest-tenured player, he wears his heart on his sleeve and rarely sugarcoats anything. So how are things going, you ask?

“It sucks right now,” he said after Tuesday’s loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. “We’re losing so much; it’s just so hard.”

Duchene had a great night. He had two goals, including a beaut on his signature move. He won 61 percent of his faceoffs. He was effective at limiting the star-studded top-6 for Chicago, but his team still blew a third period lead, falling 6-4.  Afterwards, there was no joy on his face. Scoring goals and individual accolades are great, but it’s about wins. You win as a team, you lose as a team. Duchene is a team guy, and as such, he knows the loss falls on him as well.

“It’s frustrating,” he said. “We can’t close out games right now. We’re having games where we’re getting the lead, we’re doing a good job in the first two periods, and we’re just not closing it out.”

Especially over the last few games, the Avalanche have shown flashes. Still, they aren’t getting results. They may make the right play nine out of 10 times, but that tenth is proving to be the difference. They just aren’t able to get it done in the win column.

“It’s not for lack of effort,” he said. “We’re working our hardest. We’re doing our best. It’s just not making those errors when it counts the most. Right now, we’re making them every time.”

As frustrated as Duchene is, he is still a passionate and loyal Colorado Avalanche. He waits to take questions until he has on his team hat; and while things look grim, he is hopeful that the team can turn things around.

“We’re doing a good job getting the lead now,” he said. “We’re not getting blown out or beat 5-2. We’re not letting things get off the rails.

“That’s our next step as a team: trying to finish out these games.”

It might be too late to salvage the season. If rumors are true, Duchene might not even be here when the team does take that next step; but if he is, you would be hard-pressed to find someone more committed to the effort.