For the first time this season, the Avalanche turned over their crease to backup Jean-Sebastien Giguere, and the veteran did an even better job keeping the puck out of the net than his teammate has.
Giguere made 39 saves in the first Colorado shutout of the season, helping the Avalanche improve to 4-0-0 by beating the Boston Bruins 2-0 on Thursday night at TD Garden.
The shutout was the 37th of Giguere's career and first since March 15, 2012, against the New Jersey Devils.
"I think a shutout is a team thing," Giguere said. "We have to be proud of the way that we killed the penalty tonight. It wasn't pretty the whole game, but getting two points in this building is a great sign for our team. We found a way to win the last two games on the road, and we have to be extremely happy with that."
Colorado's penalty kill was 3-for-3 and is now 10-for-10 on the season. The Avalanche, who had never been 4-0-0 since moving to Denver, are off to the franchise's best start since the Quebec Nordiques were 5-0-0 in 1994-95.
The 36-year-old Giguere made 14 of his saves during a busy third period. He said he didn't feel like he'd been perfect, but it was a solid first outing of the season.
"I just wanted to battle, battle to try to get a win," he said. "This is a real tough building to get a win in, and I just wanted to give myself a chance, the team a chance. You don't expect a miracle in your first game. All you can expect is you give it 100 percent. I gave it all my best today, and the guys played really well in front of me, so that was a good feeling."
The Bruins were looking for their first 3-0-0 start since 2001. Instead, goaltender Tuukka Rask was a hard-luck loser on a night he made 28 saves. Rask has allowed one goal in each of the Bruins' first three games. Only Ryan O'Reilly, who scored a power-play goal late in the first period, beat Rask. Matt Duchene's empty-net goal sealed the win for Colorado.
Coming off a four-day break since their last game, the Bruins felt they could've got moving in the right direction, and maybe even earned a different result, if they just could've cracked Giguere for one goal.
"That's what it is sometimes. It's about one shot and one bounce, and then you get some confidence and life back," Bruins center Patrice Bergeron said. "We didn't get that tonight, and it hurt us. We obviously need to do a better job offensively. In front of their goalie, yes, he played a good game, but we still got to make it a little tougher on him."'
The teams exchanged chances throughout the high-paced first period until the Avalanche scored first during their first power play. O'Reilly planted himself between the hash marks and redirected Andre Benoit's shot into the top part of the net behind Rask for a 1-0 lead at 19:20.
"It just got right under the bottom of my blade, which is nice," O'Reilly said.
It was the first power-play goal allowed by Boston this season after seven successful kills in its first two games. The Bruins killed off three Colorado power plays later in the game. However, their solid defensive effort was wasted by the inability to solve Giguere.
"I think you run into a hot goaltender, you run into a team that's been playing well, and they did. They've got good speed, and we talked about that for the last couple days," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "But it's one of those things where you've really got to grind it out some nights. Goals don't come easy, and what we had to do was get a little bit more traffic in front of a hot goaltender and take his eyes away. We didn't do a good enough job of that. And when we were in front, even looking from the bench, you could still see the puck. I don't think we took his eyes away.
"You've got to give them credit for how well they played. Yet, I don't think I'm really disappointed in the effort more than we've got to find ways to win those games, and we didn't do it tonight."
Late in the second period, tempers flared. After minors for roughing were doled out to Milan Lucic, Jarome Iginla, Gabriel Landeskog and PA Parenteau, Lucic was also assessed a 10-minute misconduct at 19:08 for pushing Landeskog repeatedly after a scrum had been broken up. That meant the Bruins had to play more than half the third period without one of their best all-around players.
"You want to be a part of it. You want to do whatever you can to help your team win," Lucic said. "I thought as a line we were starting to get things going, and unfortunately it took me right out of the game. Again, we were still able to generate, I thought, more as a line, and hopefully we can build off that."
Julien said his team missed Lucic.
"Certainly not what you want as a coach," Julien said. "An important player like that, you'd rather have him on the ice. But I thought it was a bit soft, to be honest with you."
Landeskog missed a lot of time with a concussion last season, and he repeatedly refused to fight Lucic, who dropped his gloves.
Avalanche coach Patrick Roy commended his captain.
"First of all, we don't have anything to prove fighting with him," Roy said. "I don't believe fighting is that important in our game. And at the same time, there's no need for Gabe to go in the box for 10 minutes or 15 minutes. We need him on the ice. He's one of our best players and I thought that was smart from him, actually."