BOSTON — Patrick Roy knows he is going to lose a game as an NHL coach. But for the time being, the Hall of Fame goalie and rookie coach is thrilled with what his players are doing.
“We don’t really have expectations. We just want to surprise the world of hockey,” Roy said after his undefeated Colorado Avalanche rode the goaltending of Jean-Sebastien Giguere to their fourth straight victory, a 2-0 decision over the previously unbeaten Boston Bruins.
“We’re humble, we take it one day at a time and here we are 4-0 at the start of the year, which is unexpected from a lot of people.”
Giguere, in his first start after Semyon Varlamov allowed one goal in each of the first three games, made 39 saves for his 37th career shutout and Ryan O’Reilly and Matt Duchene (empty net) scored as the Avs survived a hard-fought game.
“Every game we’re just trying to grow and improve and right now we’re having success doing it,” said O’Reilly, who deflected Andre Benoit’s power play shot past Tuukka Rask with 39.3 seconds left in the first period. “… Obviously it was a great win for us but now it’s on to the next one (in Washington Saturday).”
Roy’s Avalanche displayed a defensive zone breakout not often seen against the tenacious Bruins, who fell to 2-1-0.
“I’ve been asking the guys to work really hard and I’ve been asking for some details of the game that I think are important,” Roy said. “Then when you’re able to win games, it just reinforces, even more, the message you’re trying to send your players.”
“They were able to chip pucks behind us and start skating and it really did a number for them,” said Boston defenseman Torey Krug. “They were able to push the pace and they brought it to us a little bit. We’ve got to do a better job of responding to that. I thought we did a better job in the last couple periods, but they brought it to us in the first, for sure.”
The victory continued Colorado’s best season start since the franchise moved from Quebec City to Denver in 1995. The 4-0-0 mark matches the third-best start in Nordiques/Avalanche history.
The win also extended the Avalanche’s TD Garden unbeaten streak to eight games (seven wins and a tie) dating back to their last loss in Boston in 1998.
Boston’s David Krejci was off for hooking when O’Reilly scored the first power-play goal against the Bruins in three games. Duchene, who also assisted on the first goal, scored his second with less than 26 seconds left.
Giguere did his best work in the second period, when the Bruins had 15 shots and both Krejci and Patrice Bergeron were robbed from directly in front.
“I think a shutout is a team thing,” said Giguere, who backstopped the Anaheim Ducks to the 2007 Stanley Cup. “Getting two points in this building is a great sign for our team. We found a way to win the last two games on the road and we have to be extremely happy with that.”
Rask, who also allowed one goal in each of his team’s first two games, also played well, stopping 28 shots in a losing effort. He got a break in the final minute when the Avalanche hit both posts during a flurry.
“I think we started to play our game more after that first period, but unfortunately we weren’t able to crash the net enough or get to any loose pucks or beat Giguere,” said Boston left wing Milan Lucic. “You got to give them credit for the way they started the year and they come in here and get two points.”
NOTES: Bruins faceoff specialist Bergeron was just 9-for-20 in the game. … Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog refused to fight Lucic, who drew an ill-advised 10-minute misconduct late in the second period. … Roy was 32-19-5 during the regular season against the Bruins while playing for the Montreal Canadiens and Colorado and said it’s still special coming back to Boston. … Thursday night’s game was played on the second anniversary of the last time the teams faced each other. … The Bruins visit the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday, their first road game. … The previous best starts in the history of the Nordiques/Avs franchise (in order of most wins): 7-0 in 1985-86, 5-0 in ’94-95, 4-0 in ’92-93 and 3-0 in ’87-88. … In the building were Hall of Famers Roy, Cam Neely, Bobby Orr, Ray Bourque and Johnny Bucyk. … Bruins LW Carl Soderberg, yet to play this season because of an ankle injury, joined the team for the first time at Thursday’s morning skate. “I think it’s a start,” coach Claude Julien said. “It was good to see him out there and doing at least some line rushes and stuff like that. So he’s progressing well but obviously not ready to play.”