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Duchene helps Avalanche stay perfect with win over Stars

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The Canadian Press
10/16/2013 1:03:40 AM
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DENVER -- Patrick Roy was at a rare loss for words.

The subject that silenced the Hall of Fame goaltender? Himself and possible records.

These days, Roy is far more interested in keeping his team rolling than setting records. But they sort of go hand-in-hand at the moment.

The Colorado Avalanche won their sixth straight with a 3-2 win over the Dallas Stars on Tuesday night, allowing Roy to tie the NHL mark for victories to start a coaching career.

He shares the record with Mario Tremblay, who won his first six games with Montreal in 1995-96, a team Roy played for before being traded to the Avalanche later that season. Tremblay played a big role in the trade after not pulling Roy out of a game soon enough in a lopsided loss.

Now, they're linked -- again -- in league history. For the moment, anyway. Roy can break that mark Thursday against the Detroit Red Wings, one of Roy's biggest rivals as a player.

"I don't know what to say. And that doesn't happen to me very often," Roy said. "I certainly appreciate more the way our guys played than appreciate breaking a record or something like this.

"I'm not really excited about that record, to be honest with you. I'm excited about looking at the way the team has been playing, how hard the team has been working."

Matt Duchene scored twice and Semyon Varlamov stopped 39 shots as the Avs moved within a win of tying the franchise's best start. The organization was 7-0 in 1985-86 as the Quebec Nordiques.

Another possible mark to set. Not that Roy looks at it quite like that.

"We're playing with a lot of confidence," he said. "We don't want to lose our confidence."

Rich Peverley and Cody Eakin had goals for the Stars, who dropped their second straight road game despite outshooting Avs 41-26. Dallas pulled Dan Ellis with more than a minute remaining, but couldn't score the equalizer on Varlamov, who turned back Alex Chiasson's final shot with 1 second remaining.

Varlamov came up big all third period, including a point-blank stop of Tyler Seguin.

"I guess goaltending is crucial in this league," Roy said, grinning. "You need some good goaltending every night, that's what we've been lucky with. ... That's a game where Varly -- that was a steal from him."

Jamie Benn couldn't agree more.

"He played another great game and sometimes you have to give them credit," Benn said.

Duchene earned the 200th point of his NHL career with the winning goal 14:18 into the second period. With Varlamov on the bench for an extra skater following a delayed penalty against Dallas, Duchene flew into the zone and beat Ellis with a shot just inside the top of the net.

That goal came 3:20 after Eakin tied the game with a power-play goal, the first the Avs have allowed this season.

Jan Hejda gave the Avs a 2-1 lead with 7 seconds left in the opening period when the defenceman took a shot from near the blue line and it deflected through the legs of Ellis.

A few minutes earlier, Duchene intercepted an errant pass down low and beat Ellis with a shot over the goalie's right shoulder.

Dallas also capitalized on a turnover for its first goal, when Gabriel Landeskog lost the puck while making a move toward the net. Seguin quickly corralled it and sent a perfect pass ahead to Peverley, who beat Varlamov with a low liner 4:18 into the game. It was the first goal Colorado has allowed in the first period all season.

"It was probably our best skating game, probably our best game on a chance sheet and Varlamov came up with beauties," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said.

Varlamov and Jean-Sebastien Giguere have been difficult to beat this season in net. The duo earned the NHL's second star of the week after combining for three wins.

Energized by the excitable Roy, the Avalanche have been playing with plenty of confidence this season. He's given them a simple message -- play with passion -- and they've run with it.

"You can tell he's been a player, because he yells the same stuff we're yelling to each other," Landeskog said. "The passion and how calm he is, both on the bench and here, in meetings -- he spreads that calm."

Roy, calm? He nearly knocked over a glass partition when he was screaming at Anaheim's Bruce Boudreau after a 6-1 win to open his Colorado coaching career.

"He might raise his voice, but he's still calm," Landeskog said.

NOTES: The Stars placed G Kari Lehtonen on injured reserve, retroactive to Friday. ... The two goals are the most Colorado has allowed this season. ... The Avalanche are now 6-0 like Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.

Avalanche celebrate (Photo: Canadian Press)

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(Photo: Canadian Press)
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