Hall of Fame goaltender Patrick Roy had taken the reigns of the Colorado Avalanche heading into this season. Colorado has started the 2013-2014 National Hockey League season 6-0-0 after defeating the Dallas Stars 3-2 on Tuesday night. If the Avalanche can defeat the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday night, the team will tie a franchise record for most wins to start a season. The team was named the Quebec Nordiques at the time of the streak in 1985-1986.
Roy has led the Avalanche to an impressive start, Colorado is one of two unbeaten teams left in the NHL. The San Jose Sharks are the other unbeaten team. Winning just 16 games a season ago, this team is on the fast track to success this season under the leadership of Roy.
In Roy’s coaching debut, he lit a fire under his team by showing them he will stick up for them whenever it’s needed. Colorado was up on the Anaheim Ducks 6-1, but Roy was livid at Ducks’ head coach Bruce Bourdeau and nearly fought him. Roy was ticked off about a late knee-to-knee hit on rookie Nathan MacKinnon. Tempers flared and Roy was pushing the glass that separated the two coaches. Roy was ultimately fined $10,000 for his actions. That says a lot about a coach sticking up for his players in his debut game, after the game he said he will always stick up for his players.
One of the reasons that Colorado is undefeated is the play of goaltender Semyon Varlamov, who has five of the six wins and doing his best Roy impression. He sports a 1.20 goals against average(Second in the NHL) and has the league’s best save percentage at .965. Varlamov has allowed just six goals all season. Veteran backup Jean-Sebastien Giguere has started one game and made 39 saves as the Avalanche won 2-0 over the Boston Bruins. Another key factor to the Avalanche’s early season success is the penalty kill. The team ranks first in the NHL, killing off 93.8 percent of penalties.
Center Matt Duchene is one of three Colorado players who have tallied seven points in the team’s first six games. The 22-year old has five goals, which puts him third in the NHL. He leads the league in game-winning goals, including the game winner against Dallas Tuesday night. He has recorded a point in all but one game this season. The other two players who have recorded seven points are right winger Pa Parenteau and MacKinnon. The Avalanche have 11 different players who have scored at least one goal and all but one player on the team has recorded a point.
The Avalanche lead a tough Central Division by three points over the reigning, defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks and are four points ahead of the up and coming St. Louis Blues. Roy has been the answer thus far for his former team. This season could be a huge turnaround from last season.