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Avalanche extend win streak to three under Roy

by Staff /

Patrick Roy, the coach, has done something that Patrick Roy, the player, couldn't accomplish with the Colorado Avalanche: start the season with three consecutive victories.

PA Parenteau's goal 2:30 into the third period broke a tie and gave the Avalanche a 2-1 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday for their third victory in as many games.

Jamie McGinn raced down left wing and zipped a pass across the slot that hit Parenteau's skate as he crashed the crease a half-step ahead of defenseman Jake Gardiner. The puck went past Jonathan Bernier into the net; the goal was allowed to stand after video review.

"I knew I didn't kick it, but you never know," Parenteau said of waiting for the ruling.

The Avalanche improved to 3-0-0, the first time since the franchise moved from Quebec in 1996 that the team has started the season by winning three in a row. That span includes the Stanley Cup-winning seasons of 1995-96 and 2000-01; each of those teams had Roy in goal.

Semyon Varlamov stopped 27 shots, allowing only Joffrey Lupul's second-period goal. Varlamov has been in goal for all three of Colorado's games this season, allowing three goals on 91 shots. That's a big change from last season, when Varlamov was 11-21-3 with a 3.02 goals-against average and a save percentage of .903 for a team that finished last in the Western Conference.

"He made a big commitment this year to come in ready, right from training camp," Roy said of Varlamov. "Right now what I like about his play is that it's simple. Every time you look at him, it looks easy. He's always square to the shooter. He's at the right place and he plays a simple game. I think that's the reason he's having so much success."

Nathan MacKinnon, the first player chosen in the 2013 NHL Draft, had the second assist on Parenteau's goal, giving the rookie four points in three games. The Avalanche did a solid job killing a third-period penalty to preserve the lead.

"That was a big kill for us," Roy said. "Guys were there for a long time, and then they sacrificed their body."

The Avalanche, who also got a goal from defenseman Cory Sarich, won their first road game of the season; in 2012-13, they were 4-16-4 away from Pepsi Center.

"I think it's important for his confidence to get a win on the road," Roy said of Varlamov, "because last year on the road was not as successful."

Bernier finished with 31 saves and had no chance on the winning goal. The Maple Leafs lost for the first time in four games this season.

"We gave up too many chances," Toronto captain Dion Phaneuf said. "[Bernier] kept us in it. It was right there for us."

Each team had chances in the first period, but neither scored. Varlamov stopped all 12 Toronto shots, and Colorado was unable to get any of its 10 shots past Bernier. His best stop was a glove save on Gabriel Landeskog from the slot near the middle of the period.

Lupul opened the scoring at 13:12 of the second period through sheer persistence. Varlamov stopped Carter Ashton's shot from the high slot but couldn't cover the puck. Lupul dug the puck away from the goaltender and jammed it over the goal line for his second of the season.

The goal marked the first time this season the Avalanche trailed in a game.

Colorado tied it at 16:39 on a goal from an unlikely source. Sarich, a defenseman who's spent his career focused more on preventing goals than scoring them, carried the puck from the point into the lower right circle in the Toronto zone, where he rocketed a quick wrist shot high to the short side and past a surprised Bernier. It was Sarich's first goal since Jan. 10, 2012, when he scored against the New Jersey Devils while playing for the Calgary Flames.

It was the first goal of the season by a Colorado defenseman.

"He made a good shot, but that's definitely a save that I've got to make and it's a routine save," Bernier said. "That's a goal that I want to take back."

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