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Avs Nab Another Preseason Shutout

Colorado is now 5-0 in exhibition games

by Ryan Boulding @rboulding /

Andreas Martinsen scored in the first period and goaltender Calvin Pickard did the rest in the Colorado Avalanche's 1-0 preseason win over the Dallas Stars on Wednesday night in Texas.

Martinsen buried a cross-ice feed from Ben Smith 8:25 into opening stanza, beating netminder Kari Lehtonen for a lead the Avs would desperately hold on to.

"It was a great play by Smithy there on the wall. He was getting in, he was patient," Martinsen said of the tally. "I don't know how he even saw me. He just made an unbelievable play, and all I had to do was to put it in an open net. That was a great play."

Getting his second start in net, Pickard followed up teammate Semyon Varlamov's 30-save shutout performance on Tuesday with one of his own at American Airlines Center. The 24-year-old tender turned aside 28 attempts in his bid for victory, helping Colorado to a 5-0 record in exhibition contests this year.

"We played great start to finish," Pickard said after the match. "Back-to-back, coming on the road, travel the day of, that was a pretty exciting performance. We played great defense all night, got a great goal and drew a lot of penalties. So we ate up a lot of the clock."

Despite suiting up in Denver one night and again in Dallas less than 24 hours later, Pickard was up to the challenge.

"I felt pretty good for the most part," he admitted. "It's not bad being at sea level, too."

Colorado drew eight penalties during the contest, including one with 1:25 left on the clock to help temper any sort of Stars comeback.

Avalanche forward Matt Duchene made his preseason debut in the win, logging two shots and 19:41 of ice time while skating alongside linemates Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog. Duchene also saw 7:27 of power-play action.

The Avs have now outscored their opponents 14-4 during their 5-0-0 run. The club is also a perfect 21-for-21 on the penalty kill.

Smith has been a factor in both of the Avalanche's preseason wins over Dallas. In the previous meeting on Sept. 28, he scored the game-winning goal in the third period. On Wednesday, he fed Martinsen for the lone marker.

Colorado concludes its exhibition slate against the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night at the annual Frozen Fury matchup in Las Vegas, Nevada. It will be the first time the clubs meet on the ice at the newly constructed T-Mobile Arena.

The game starts at 8 p.m. MT and will be televised live on NHL Network and Fox Sports West.

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