DENVER -- Patrick Roy had been saying for several weeks that he was more interested in enjoying the experience of playing outdoors in the 2016 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series Alumni Game at Coors Field than going back in time and trying to perform like the goalie he was during his Hockey Hall of Fame career.
But it didn't take long for his competitive spirit to kick in.
The Avalanche coach, who is 50, looked sharp while stopping 20 of 21 shots in two periods Friday before giving way to Craig Billington in the Colorado Avalanche's 5-2 win against the Detroit Red Wings before a crowd of 43,319.
"I'm one [win] closer to Martin Brodeur," joked Roy, who had an NHL-record 551 regular-season wins when he retired following the 2002-03 season. Brodeur eventually passed him and finished his career with 691 wins.
Roy, who will trade his pads and mask for a suit and tie when the Avalanche and Red Wings play outdoors on Saturday in the 2016 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series (8 p.m. ET; NBC, SN, TVA Sports 2), worked out on the ice with his present-day players during practices and morning skates to prepare for the alumni game.
"Thank you to the players," he said. "My players helped me a lot. I worked 15 to 20 times, and it really prepared me well for this game. The pace and the practices were fast, and I thought I was ready for this game. I wanted to be ready because I wanted to enjoy the moment and I was hoping to do well in front of our fans.
"C'mon, you don't want to see them leaving Coors [Field] with a loss. You want them to leave with big smiles on their faces and saying they were proud of that group."
Roy didn't disappoint. He faced 11 shots in the first period, when the Avalanche took a 2-1 lead on goals from Valeri Kamensky and Joe Sakic. The only puck to get past him came off the stick of Red Wings center Steve Yzerman, who put in a rebound after Roy made a save on a shot from the slot area.
Video: Patrick Roy talks to the media after the Alumni Game
"Patty was [angry] when he let that one in," Avalanche center Peter Forsberg said. "No, the goalies were great for us. They kept us in the game. I never complained about our goalies ... ever. Not tonight either."
Roy made 10 more saves in the second period, when right wing Milan Hejduk scored to give the Avalanche a 3-1 lead.
"I thought he was great," said defenseman Adam Foote, who won Stanley Cups with Roy in 1996 and 2001. "You know he worked at it. I knew he was going to work at it. That's Patty Roy, that's what he does. That's why he did what he did in his career, because he's competitive. That's just his personality. He did great, and I thought Billington came in and played well too."
Billington, now Colorado's assistant general manager, allowed a third-period goal to right wing Brendan Shanahan and made a glove save against Tomas Holmstrom on a penalty shot. Stephane Yelle closed out the scoring for Colorado.
"Really, really good, and there was not a lot of help," defenseman Rob Blake said of Roy and Billington. "I guess we did have a lot of blocked shots. Patrick looked good, same form. I know he put his time in. You don't want to be embarrassed. I'm sure everybody here put in a little extra skating just to make sure."
Avalanche forward Shjon Podein wasn't surprised to see Roy perform as well as he did.
"I've always said he's the best competitor I have ever been lucky enough to play with," Podein said. "This is just another example. He works really hard and plays unbelievable. Billington wasn't a far second, let's be honest. But, Patty is just the greatest competitor I've ever gotten to be around."
Video: Stadium Series Alumni Game: Roy on enjoying the game
Winning the Stanley Cup was the goal for the Avalanche during their fierce rivalry with the Red Wings from 1996-2002, when the teams combined for five championships.
The short-term objective now is for the current Avalanche to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs and bring back some of the old-time magic for the fans.
"Like it or not, they have some expectations for us, and you want to make sure that you perform well," Roy said. "That's how we felt when we were playing and that's how I felt today. Play hard for them and give them a good game and make them proud of us.
"As a coach that's our objective. The players are committed, they all want to make a difference in the community and they want to be in the playoffs. I'm very proud of this group. If you remember in November, things were not going as well and a lot of people thought maybe we'd be out of the playoffs by December. Now if you look at the standings were No. 8 and we just want to keep pushing. The group is very motivated and want to be part of the dance."