BOSTON -- The Colorado Avalanche won its first three games of the 2013-14 season behind the strong play of goaltender Semyon Varlamov, who allowed one goal in each game.
On Thursday night against the Bruins, the Avalanche for the first time this season turned over its crease to backup Jean-Sebastien Giguere, and the veteran did an even better job keeping the puck out of the net than his teammate.
Giguere made 39 saves in Colorado's first shutout of the season as the Avalanche improved to 4-0-0 with a 2-0 win over the Boston Bruins Thursday night at TD Garden. The Avalanche since moving to Denver had never been 4-0-0 before Thursday and is off to the franchise's best start since the Quebec Nordiques were 5-0-0 in 1994-95.
“It’s another solid team effort," Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said. "Everybody was sharp. 'Giggy' (Giguere) made some big, big saves at the right time.
"It’s good for our team. It’s good for our confidence. I’ve been asking the guys to work really hard, and I’ve been asking some details of the game that I think are important. When you’re able to win games, it helps reinforce even more the message you try and send your players."
The shutout was the 37th of Giguere's career and first since March 15, 2012 against the New Jersey Devils. The effort also helped Colorado improve its goal differential this season to +10 (13-3).
"Every point (in the standings) you have right now, you don’t chase them at the end, which is great," Roy said. "Honestly, we don’t really have expectations. We just want to surprise the world of hockey. At the same time, we’re humble, we take it one day at time, and here we are 4-0 at the start of the year, which is unexpected from a lot of people, but for us, we just take it one day at a time, and hopefully we can win again in Washington [on] Saturday."
The teams exchanged chances throughout the high-paced first period until the Avalanche scored first during its first power play, when O'Reilly planted himself between the hash marks and redirected Andre Benoit's shot into the top part of the net behind Boston's Tuukka Rask for a 1-0 lead at 19:20 of the period.
The goal was the first power-play goal allowed by Boston this season after seven successful kills over the course of its first two games. Conversely, the Avalanche killed off three Boston power-play chances and improved its penalty-kill mark this season to 10-for-10.
Colorado outshot Boston 14-10 through the first 20 minutes, and the Bruins got their penalty kill back on track in the second period, as they killed two Colorado man advantages.
Late in the period, however, tempers flared, when multiple players from both teams latched arms in disagreement. When the dust settled, minors for roughing were doled out to Milan Lucic, Jarome Iginla, Gabriel Landeskog and PA Parenteau, and Lucic was also assessed a 10-minute misconduct at 19:08.
Lucic tried to draw Landeskog into a full-on skirmish, but the Colorado captain didn't bite and the Bruins had to play more than half the third period without one of their best all-around players.
"We don’t have anything to prove," Roy said of the situation. "I don’t believe fighting is that important in our game, but at the same time there’s no need for Gabe to go in the box for 10 minutes or 15 minutes. We need him on the ice. He’s one of our best players. I thought that was smart of him."