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Avalanche rout Ducks in Roy's coaching debut

by Rick Sadowski /
DENVER -- Patrick Roy's debut as coach of the Colorado Avalanche couldn't have gone much better if he had planned it this way.

Roy started by receiving a rousing standing ovation when he was introduced to the Pepsi Center crowd in a pregame ceremony Wednesday night before the Avalanche took on the Anaheim Ducks. He proceeded to watch as the Avalanche skated to a 6-1 victory in the regular-season opener for both teams.

Semyon Varlamov was solid in goal with 35 saves, Jamie McGinn scored two goals off passes from No. 1 draft pick Nathan MacKinnon, and Ryan O'Reilly and Steve Downie each had a goal and an assist. John Mitchell and Matt Duchene also scored goals, and Alex Tanguay chipped in with three assists.

Varlamov lost his bid for a shutout when Ducks rookie Jakob Silfverberg scored with seven seconds to play in the game.

Roy's temper surfaced at the final buzzer when he shoved the glass partition separating the team benches and exchanged angry words with Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau. He was angered because moments before the Ducks scored, MacKinnon was knocked down by defenseman Ben Lovejoy with what Roy said was a knee-on-knee hit. No penalty was called.

"I was not very happy," Roy said. "First of all, I mean, to see a defenseman knee our guy. I mean, that was a knee-on-knee hit. That should have been a penalty in my opinion, and I certainly didn't like that. When it's 6-0, I don't think this game needs that type of cheap shot. But after that there was some talk from the coaches, I guess. But at the same time, what should I do? He put his fourth line on the ice. I'm not going to go with my first line. I went with my fourth line and, that's it. I was matching all night long, by the way."

Ducks forward Matt Beleskey was assessed a double minor for roughing at the 20-minute mark, while the Avalanche's Cody McLeod was given a single roughing minor. The Avalanche were handed a team minor and Roy was assessed a game misconduct.

Boudreau said Lovejoy's hit was "a trip," and he didn't think much of Roy's behavior.


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"It was a little trip and maybe they should have called it, but they let it go because of the score," Boudreau said. "He was barking at me because I was yelling at him to quit yelling at our players. I didn't notice it as much as I noticed it then. The last game we were in here [for a preseason game] it was a big thing by the referees telling him it's going to be a long year if he's going to be yelling at everyone like that. There was no need for it.

"He's not 25 anymore; he's watched every NHL game I'm sure since he retired. He played for some of the greatest coaches and even though he was in the net and didn't hear a lot of them, I'm sure he knew what was going on."

It was an enjoyable "Welcome to the NHL" night for MacKinnon, who along with Lovejoy was assessed a roughing minor midway through the second period.

"I am used to it," he said of the physical play. "Obviously these guys are bigger and stronger, things like that. But through junior last year, especially in the playoffs, our line was keyed on and we took some shots. I like that stuff. I don't mind that at all and it's better hockey and it's all worth it, for sure."

MacKinnon centered a line with McGinn and PA Parenteau. He had one shot on goal in 15:31 of ice time to go along with his two assists. He did lose 12 of 14 faceoffs.

"I felt good. It was a fun game," he said. "Right from the get-go I thought we played pretty well, and it felt pretty good to beat the Ducks. I don't know if many people thought we would beat them like that, but obviously we are very excited that we got the win."

Roy was especially pleased with his team's work ethic and the play of Varlamov.

"Outstanding," Roy said. "I think he's the reason why the first five minutes he kept us in the game. He made some great saves. They made nice plays. It's a good team, a team that plays really well offensively. They're tough to play one on one and Varly was outstanding. At every moment in that game where we had made some mistakes, he was there for us. No doubt in my mind he was the first star for our team tonight."

O'Reilly opened the scoring at 15:39 of the first period, moments after Varlamov made two big stops from point-blank range. Playing left wing on a line with Duchene and Downie, O'Reilly deflected an attempted pass by Ducks defenseman Francois Beauchemin just inside the Anaheim blue line, skated down the middle and beat goalie Viktor Fasth on a breakaway.

The Avalanche seized control in the second period with three goals on nine shots.

Downie, who missed the final 46 games last season after undergoing reconstructive knee surgery, knocked in a rebound at 8:38 on a power play with the Ducks' Daniel Winnik in the penalty box for tripping. O'Reilly took two whacks at the puck from deep on the right side that Fasth turned aside, but the puck popped out to the goalie's right and Downie put it in while parked near the left post.

Mitchell scored at 10:42 during a 4-on-4 skating situation after MacKinnon and Lovejoy went off for roughing. Mitchell accepted Tyson Barrie's return pass on a 2-on-1 rush with Sami Vatanen the lone defender back and scored while moving down right wing.

McGinn increased the lead to 4-0 at 17:20. Tanguay shot the puck past the net and MacKinnon went back to get it. He was facing the end boards when he made a no-look pass to McGinn, who beat Fasth with a quick shot from low in the right circle.

McGinn and Duchene scored 2:28 apart late in the third period.

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