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Unbeaten Avs shoot for 5-0 start in D.C.
(SportsNetwork.com) - Patrick Roy and the Colorado Avalanche will take their perfect record to D.C. on Friday, as they visit the Washington Capitals for a battle at Verizon Center.
Roy is in his first season as an NHL head coach and has his club off to a 4-0 start. The Avalanche won the first two games of the year on home ice before beginning its current three-game road trip with wins in Toronto and Boston.
With four straight wins to begin the season, the Avs are off to the franchise's best start since it relocated from Quebec to Denver in the mid-1990s. The last time the team was 5-0 to start a campaign was in 1994-95, which was the franchise's last season as the Quebec Nordiques.
The Avs took down the defending Eastern Conference champions in their most recent triumph, beating the Bruins by a 2-0 score at TD Garden on Thursday. Jean-Sebastien Giguere started in place of No. 1 netminder Semyon Varlamov and stopped all 39 shots he faced for his first shutout of the season. It was Giguere's first shutout since blanking the New Jersey Devils on March 15, 2012.
Prior to Giguere's shutout, the Avs had surrendered a total of three goals on the season.
Ryan O'Reilly scored late in the first period for Colorado, while Matt Duchene contributed a late insurance tally and one assist to the winning effort.
"It's another solid team effort," Roy said. "Everybody was sharp. 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."
If Colorado wins Saturday it will improve the team's road record this season to 3-0. It would also leave the Avs just one win shy of their road total from last season, when the team was just 4-16-4 as the away team.
While the Avalanche enter D.C. riding high, the Capitals have lost their last two games and are 1-3-0 on the season. Washington last played on Thursday when it began a five-game homestand with a 3-2 regulation setback against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Washington held a pair of one-goal leads in the contest, but the Caps failed to score after Alex Ovechkin's marker with 6:08 remaining in the second period. Former Capital Alexander Semin tied the score at 2-2 late in the second stanza and Nathan Gerbe notched the tie-breaking goal 6:59 into the third period.
The Capitals were dealt a second consecutive defeat despite Ovechkin's fifth goal of the young season and a 33-save effort from Braden Holtby. Jason Chimera had Washington's only other score.
"We are putting ourselves in good positions," said Caps defenseman Steve Oleksy. "When we figure out how to put 60 minutes together and close out those games, I think we will be talking about a different story."
After Saturday's contest, the Caps will close this residency with games against Edmonton, the New York Rangers and Columbus.
Colorado has won two straight and three of four in the series against Washington, including the last two encounters in D.C.
10/12 10:56:38 ET