(SportsNetwork.com) - The rolling Colorado Avalanche will aim for their fourth
straight win when they welcome the Winnipeg Jets in Sunday's Central Division
clash at the Pepsi Center.
After finishing last in the Western Conference last season, Colorado is off to
a surprising 9-1-0 start to the 2013-14 campaign. The hot start has the
Avalanche sitting atop the Central with 18 points and second to the San Jose
Sharks in both the Western Conference and overall NHL standings.
Colorado began the year 6-0 before losing on Oct. 17 against Detroit. The
Avalanche are 3-0 since that lone setback and are coming off Friday's 4-2 win
over the visiting Carolina Hurricanes.
Matt Duchene potted a pair of goals and added an assist, as the Avalanche
continued their best start to a season with the victory over Carolina.
Alex Tanguay tallied a goal and an assist, while Erik Johnson also lit the
lamp for the Avalanche, who have won nine of their first 10 games to match
the 1994-95 Quebec Nordiques for the best start in franchise history.
"It's good right now," Tanguay said. "We played another solid game. We made a
few mistakes, but we overcame them. It's a lot of fun now."
Semyon Varlamov stopped 28-of-30 shots to backstop the victory. Varlamov is
6-1-0 with a 1.73 goals against average and .948 save percentage on the
Colorado is 4-1-0 as the host this season, but has lost two straight and five
of its last six home meetings against the Atlanta/Winnipeg franchise. The
former Atlanta Thrashers also have claimed two in a row and three of the past
four encounters in this series overall.
Winnipeg is coming off a victory, as the club halted a three-game slide with a
2-1 shootout win in Dallas on Saturday. It was the third straight time the
Jets went past regulation, following a shootout loss to Washington on Tuesday
and an overtime setback in Nashville on Thursday.
After opening a four-game road trip with a 3-2 loss to the Predators, the Jets
were able to pick up two points Saturday in Big D. Andrew Ladd tallied the
only shootout goal for either team and Evander Kane had the lone goal for
Winnipeg in regulation.
After Ladd put Winnipeg up with the forehand score, Ray Whitney skated in
slowly but missed wide with his wrister to seal the win for the Jets. Ondrej
Pavelec, who turned aside an Alex Chiasson attempt earlier in the shootout
with a blocker save, made 35 stops to earn the win for the Jets.
"I thought Pavelec was superb again when he had to be," said Jets head coach
Claude Noel. "He had some key saves he had to make at some key times."
Pavelec has started the last six games, but backup Al Montoya expects to get
the call on Sunday. Montoya hasn't played since his only start of the season
on Oct. 13, when he posted a shutout in a 3-0 victory over New Jersey.
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