Paced by solid goaltending, the Colorado Avalanche remain focused during their best start since relocating from Quebec 18 years ago.
The Avalanche look to continue their unbeaten streak when they host the Dallas Stars on Tuesday night.
After missing the playoffs the last three seasons, Colorado (5-0-0) joins San Jose and St. Louis as the only NHL teams without a loss. However, first-year coach and Hall-of-Fame goaltender Patrick Roy does not want to make too much of the team's surprising start.
"We take it one day at a time and just say, `Why not? Why not us?'" said Roy, who helped lead the Avs to Stanley Cup titles in 1996 and 2001. "We're working hard every day. We're humble. We know we're playing against good teams."
Prior to this year, the club had never won its first five games since moving to Denver in 1995. The Avs are within striking distance of the franchise-best 7-0-0 start by the 1985-86 Nordiques because of the stellar play of Semyon Varlamov and Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who have combined to allow only four goals on 171 shots.
Varlamov made 40 saves in Saturday's 5-1 victory at Washington, improving to 4-0-0 with a 1.00 goals-against average. Giguere stopped 39 shots during a 2-0 win at Boston on Thursday in his only start.
"(Varlamov) is playing outstanding," Roy said. "Both goalies have been, `Wow', for us."
Center Nathan MacKinnon, the 18-year-old No. 1 overall pick in this year's draft, scored his first goal and added one of his team-leading five assists Saturday.
Matt Duchene got his third goal of the season as Colorado jumped out to a 2-0 first-period lead against the Capitals and never looked back.
"I like our intensity. There's no doubt about it," Roy said. "I thought we were very focused before the game. We jumped on them right at the start."
Duchene has two goals and two assists in his last three games, but has gone without a point in his previous four against Dallas.
Colorado dropped two of three last season against the Stars (2-2-0), who are looking to bounce back from a 5-1 loss at Minnesota on Saturday. Dallas gave up a goal 12 seconds in and trailed 4-0 before Jordie Benn scored on the power play in the second period.
"We kind of gave them a two-goal lead there, just sloppy plays," defenseman Alex Goligoski said. "We never really got going after that. We kind of got outplayed all over the rink. ... We got off on the wrong foot (Saturday) and it just kind of spiraled from there."
Dan Ellis made 31 saves against the Wild and could again be called on to start in place of Kari Lehtonen, who is day-to-day with a lower-body injury suffered during Friday's 4-1 victory at Winnipeg.
Ellis has a 2.76 GAA during a personal four-game winning streak against Colorado.
Stars center Tyler Seguin has recorded both of his goals and all four assists during the last three games.
Benn's first career goal - his only one in 26 games last season - came during a 5-2 home victory over Colorado on March 23.
The Associated Press News Service
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