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Fast Start Leads Avalanche Past Stars

Colorado wins its first game of the preseason

by Ron Knabenbauer @RonKnab / ColoradoAvalanche.com

DENVER--The Colorado Avalanche scored three times on its first three shots Thursday night and defeated the Dallas Stars 5-1 at Pepsi Center to win its first preseason game of the 2017-18 campaign.

David Warsofsky, Sven Andrighetto and Sergei Boikov registered markers in the first 5:09 of the game to give Colorado a 3-0 advantage after the first period. The Avalanche also received goals from Alexander Kerfoot on a power play at 2:47 of the second period and Matt Duchene at 5:56 of the third. 

"We had the more veteran lineup today than them, and I thought we did a real nice job tonight using our skill and speed," said Avs head coach Jared Bednar. 

Colorado's Nail Yakupov finished with three assists while Chris Bigras (two assists), Warsofsky (goal and assist) and Kerfoot (goal and assist) each had two-point nights.

"I think if you look in this room, we have a lot of good skaters and a lot of guys that can move the puck," Warsofsky said. "We have puck-moving defensemen that I think help a lot. I thought we were really clean coming out of our end in the first period. Any time you can do that and get the puck in the forwards' hands, especially these forwards, they're really skilled."

Video: David Warsofsky reflects on NHL experience

Goaltender Semyon Varlamov played the entire contest for the Avs and finished with 21 saves. It was Varlamov's first NHL-game action since Jan. 17. He had season-ending hip surgery to fix his injury groin in January.

Even though it was preseason, Varlamov was happy with his performance.

"It is important to play a couple preseason games before going to New York (for the first game)," Varlamov said. "Right now, it feels like everyone is flying. I had a good game. I feel good and that is important for me. I need my confidence back."

Varlamov played just as good as his teammates in front of him. The Avs outshot the Stars 28-22 and out-attempted them 66-39.

"Dallas sent the young guys to play against us today, but there are no easy games in the NHL," the Colorado netminder said. "I think we dominated all 60 minutes. We had a good game. We stuck with the game plan all 60 minutes, and I'm pretty happy with the result."

Video: Semyon Varlamov after first preseason game

It wasn't all good news in the night for the Avalanche, as Boikov left the game in the first stanza with a shoulder injury. Moments after scoring his goal, the defenseman was hit hard into the corner boards by Dallas' Remi Elie and went to the locker room in pain.

Duncan Siemens took exception to the hit and fought Elie in defense of his teammate soon after. Each player received matching, five-minute major penalties.

Boikov did not return to the contest.

"I haven't talked to him yet, but I know it's an upper-body injury and I'm getting the impression that it isn't day-to-day," Bednar said in his postgame news conference

Like Tuesday's contests, there were plenty of penalties, including five slashing calls--an area in which the on-ice officials are trying to limit. In total, there were 21 total infractions handed out.

Colorado went 2-for-9 on the man advantage while Dallas went 1-for-6 with the extra skater.

"The other night, we were not very good on it, and tonight they found their rhythm," Bednar said of his club's special teams performance. "We had a lot of power plays, and we had some time to work on it. We've worked on it two days in a row now, and we'll continue to touch it every day in training camp. You can see the skill there."

Andrighetto and Kerfoot scored the Avs' power-play goals, with each player redirecting a shot past Stars netminder Kari Lehtonen while positioning themselves in front of the crease.

Lehtonen made 16 saves while playing the first two periods. Landon Bow guarded Dallas' pipes in the third period and made seven stops.

Roope Hintz netted the Stars' lone goal of the night, burying a rebound on a man advantage with 8:54 left to play to end Varlamov's shutout.

The Avalanche now gets set to play three preseason games in three days, beginning on Saturday at the Minnesota Wild. Colorado will then host the Wild on Sunday before playing in Dallas on Monday night.

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