The expected bounce-back game from the Avalanche's first rough stretch under rookie NHL coach Patrick Roy was impressive. Make that extraordinary, if not "awe-inspiring," as the taped recording said after Colorado goals Tuesday night. The Avs, who were less than ordinary in their previous three games since starting 14-2, bounced the defending Stanley Cup champions out of the Pepsi Center, beating the Chicago Blackhawks 5-1 on a night when everything seemingly went right for the Burgundy and Blue. "We knew we could compete against anyone, but it's nice to have a bounce-back game like that, especially against a great squad," Avs winger P.A. Parenteau said. "I thought it was a great team effort." Paul Stastny scored and assisted on a goal and the John Mitchell-centered third line struck twice as the Avs became the first squad in team history to win 15 of their first 20 games. The Stanley Cup-winning teams of 2001 and 1996 produced 14 and 13 wins, respectively, in their first 20, but Roy's boys are the quickest to 15. Roy wasn't aware of the milestone. "It's a surprise, but like I said (Monday) we're going to take it one day at a time and not try to look too far (ahead)," he said. The Avs built a 3-0 lead within the first 14 minutes of the game to chase Chicago goalie Corey Crawford and, despite the Blackhawks' dominant push in the second period, Colorado emerged with the frame's only goal to coast into the third period with a 4-0 lead — thanks to Parenteau's goal on a 2-on-1 rush late in the period. "We had extended time in their end with nothing to show for it and then they go down (on odd-man rush to make it) 4-0 and kind of sealed it," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. Left wing Cody McLeod capped a nice play by Mitchell early in the third to make it 5-0 and pin the Blackhawks (14-4-4) with their second blowout loss in three games. Gabe Landeskog (redirect) scored Colorado's second goal and netminder and Semyon Varlamov (36 saves) was busy all night before improving to 10-5. Varlamov had his shutout bid end late in the third period on Brandon Saad's backhand between the goalie's legs. Both teams went 0-of-1 on the power play. "It was a lot of fun," Varlamov said. "We played very well defensively. They have a very good power play, and thank God they had only one chance. ... They went hard on us in the second period, and to score that goal at the end of the second period was a huge goal by P.A. Parenteau."
Avalanche ends three-game skid with 5-1 rout of Blackhawks
Denver Post | Nov 20