The Colorado Avalanche's season is still perfect. The Toronto Maple Leafs' is not.
PA Parenteau's goal 2:30 into the third period broke a tie and gave the Avalanche a 2-1 victory Tuesday night at Air Canada Centre in the opener of Colorado's three-game road trip.
Jamie McGinn raced down the left wing and zipped a pass across the slot that hit Parenteau's skate as he crashed the crease a half-step ahead of Toronto defenseman Jake Gardiner. The puck went past Jonathan Bernier into the net, and the goal was allowed to stand after video review.
The rest of the night belonged to Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov, who stopped 27 shots and allowed only Joffrey Lupul's second-period goal.
Varlamov has been in goal for all three of Colorado's games this season and has allowed three goals while helping the Avalanche to a 3-0-0 start, the first time the franchise has started a season with three consecutive victories since moving from Quebec in 1995.
“You don’t get too high, you don’t get too low," Parenteau said. "It’s kind of cliché a little bit, but that’s what it’s all about. It’s a long season—82 games. We’re off to a great start. That’s what we wanted, but now we go one game at a time. Hopefully we keep going and we stay on a roll here.”
The Avalanche also got a goal from defenseman Cory Sarich and won its first road game of the season after last season winning just four of its 24 games away from Pepsi Center.
"Everybody is chipping in," Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said. "Last game it was [defenseman Patrick] Bordeleau who had a winning goal. Tonight we had [Cory] Sarich tie it, and it was a great effort by Parenteau driving it in on that second goal.
"Overall, it’s a team effort, and that’s what we’re looking for.
Bernier finished with 31 saves, but the Maple Leafs (3-1-0) lost for the first time in four games this season.
Each team had chances in the first period but neither scored. Colorado was unable to get any of its 10 shots past Bernier, and Varlamov stopped all 12 Toronto shots, too.
"Right now what I like about [Varlamov's] play is it looks simple," Roy said. "Every time you look at him, it looks easy. He’s always square to the shooters, and he’s at the right place. He plays a simple game, and I think that’s the reason why he’s had so much success.
"It was important, I think, for him, for his confidence, to have a win on the road because last year he [wasn’t] as successful. In preseason he played a really good game in Anaheim, and tonight he was rock solid at the right time for us.”
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, but it quickly tied it up 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, Sarich carried the puck from the point into the lower right circle in the Toronto zone, where he rocketed a quick wrist shot over the shoulder of a surprised Bernier for his 21st career score.
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 also was the first goal of the season by a Colorado defenseman.
"I thought we deserved better than to be down 1-0 at that point, but we were resilient, and this is what our team is all about right now," Roy said.