DENVER (AP) Gabriel Landeskog didn't feel out of line with this proclamation: His line is the best in hockey.
It's hard to argue given their success.
Landeskog broke a tie with 13:46 remaining as part of Colorado's four-goal third period to help the Avalanche beat the Ottawa Senators 6-3 on Friday night and spoil a two-goal performance from Matt Duchene in his return to Denver.
Asked in front of the crowd if that combination was indeed the best, Landeskog matter-of-factly responded: ''Yeah. We are.''
Landeskog gave Colorado the lead for good by knocking in his ninth goal of the season off a feed from Rantanen. Colorado outscored the Senators 6-1 after falling behind 2-0 midway through the first period.
Still, that Avs line left an impression on the Senators.
''It's the age of super-lines right now and that's one of them,'' Duchene said. ''They're good. They're all coming into their own.''
Especially Rantanen, who has five goals and 15 assists this season.
''My linemates are helping me a lot. I love to play on that line with those two,'' Rantanen said. ''The whole team is playing really good right now.''
Duchene was greeted with a mixture of cheers and boos as he took the ice in the place where he spent his first eight-plus seasons. A disgruntled Duchene was traded to Ottawa last November as part of a three-team deal.
For this occasion, Duchene rented a suite at the Pepsi Center for his wife, family and friends. He tipped in a shot in the first period and scored again on a break in the second to stake the Senators to a 3-1 lead. It wouldn't be enough.
The Ottawa center was honored by the Avalanche midway through the first period. Duchene clapped in appreciation while his former teammates on the bench banged their sticks against the boards.
''Just the signs in warm-up and the people that were being so kind meant a lot to me,'' Duchene said. ''You touch the puck you're going to get booed. Avs fans are competitive and you kind of expect it.''
Duchene was the third overall pick in 2009 by Colorado and scored 178 goals with the Avalanche, which is seventh on the franchise's all-time list.
It was an awkward parting for Duchene, whose desire to leave was fueled in part by not wanting to be involved in another rebuilding project with Colorado. His Senators squad finished with the second-fewest points last season, while the Avalanche made the playoffs as the No. 8 seed.
''What's in the past is in the past. I've moved on,'' Duchene said. ''I don't think I've ever been happier playing the game and happier with my personal life.
''I'm happy. That's what I was searching for. That's what I've found. We'll see what my future holds. I've really enjoyed playing in Ottawa.''
Notes: Senators F Zack Smith went to the dressing room in the second period with a facial injury after falling on a skate. He's heading back home. ''It's serious,'' Senators coach Guy Boucher said. ''It's broken but I don't know the extent of it.'' ... F Ryan Dzingel scored the game's first goal for Ottawa. ... Colorado has a vested interest in the Senators this season. As part of the trade that also included Nashville, the Avs will have Ottawa's 2019 first-round pick. ''It would be nice to get a high pick,'' MacKinnon said. ''But I expect them to be a good team.'' ... Goaltender Philipp Grubauer started his first home game for the Avalanche and stopped 21 shots. Craig Anderson made 31 saves for the Senators.
Senators: Stop No. 2 on their three-game trip will be Sunday in Vegas.
Avalanche: Turn around and play at Minnesota on Saturday. The Avs were 3-8-0 in the second game of a back-to-back last season.
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