Success against Eastern Conference teams is a big reason why the Colorado Avalanche are off to the best start in franchise history.
They'll try for a sixth consecutive victory over an East opponent Tuesday night and second this year over the Carolina Hurricanes, who have yet to beat a team from the West this season.
Gabriel Landeskog had a goal and an assist and Semyon Varlamov made 33 saves against his former team in a 4-1 victory over Washington on Sunday.
Colorado's 14-2-0 start tops that of the 1994-95 Quebec Nordiques, who went 13-3 in the season before relocating to Denver.
"When we lose, we forget about it. When we win, we forget about it," said forward Matt Duchene, who has two goals and four assists in the last four games. "I mean you take the lessons and you move on to the next day.
"We're playing like we're a .500 hockey team and not a 14-2 team and I think that's the key. You stay grounded and you stay humble and hungry all the time."
The Avs have thrived with East teams back on the schedule, going 8-1 in those games. The lone defeat - which came Oct. 17 to a Detroit team that was part of the West until this season - snapped a 6-0 start.
Colorado is 5-0 on the road against the East and has outscored the last five opponents from that conference 17-6.
"When things are going your way, you have to try to put together as many wins as you can and I think we're doing that right now," said forward P.A. Parenteau, who has scored half of his six goals in the last four contests.
Colorado averages 3.4 goals per game, one more than it did in regulation and overtime last season. Opponents have converted six of 52 power-play chances (11.5 percent) while Varlamov and Jean-Sebastien Giguere have a combined 1.74 goals-against average.
Duchene had two goals and an assist and Varlamov made 28 saves in a 4-2 home win over Carolina (6-7-4) on Oct. 25.
That defeat was part of a season-high five-game skid, but the Hurricanes have followed it with a 2-0-1 stretch. Jiri Tlusty and Ryan Murphy scored in a 3-2 shootout loss to Minnesota on Saturday.
The Hurricanes have been held to two or fewer goals in eight straight contests and their 32 are among the fewest in the league, but coach Kirk Muller has seen signs of improvement.
"I think it's all just coming together," said Muller, whose club is 0-3-3 against the West. "We have had a couple of good, strong games lately and we are playing well."
Carolina goalie Cam Ward is getting closer to returning after practicing Sunday for the first time since suffering a lower-body injury Oct. 24. Originally expected to miss three to four weeks, Ward appears ahead of schedule though he's unlikely to play Tuesday.
He's 2-2-3 with an 2.81 GAA this season.
"We've just got to watch and see him improve each day ... before he gets pain free, solid and healthy," Muller told the Hurricanes' official website.
Justin Peters, who made 30 saves against the Avs last month, has gone 2-5-1 with a 2.51 GAA since replacing Ward.
The Hurricanes have won three straight at home against the Avs.
The Associated Press News Service
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