For more than a decade, that squad has held the club's
single-season wins record. But Roy, who was the starting goaltender
for that Stanley Cup-winning team and now coaches the Avalanche,
moved his charges into a tie for the franchise's best record
Thursday night as Colorado doubled the Vancouver Canucks 4-2.
"I'm happy to be there as a coach," Roy said, "but records are made
to be broken, and that's what our guys have (almost) done. They
deserve a lot of credit the way the way they've been playing since
the start of the season. You're not achieving these things without
being consistent, and that's what our team has been."
The Avalanche (52-21-7) moved into a tie for first place in the
Central Division with St. Louis after the Blues lost to the
Minnesota Wild earlier Wednesday night.
Defenseman Tyson Barrie scored the winning goal at 12:30 of the
third period, breaking a 2-2 tie. He scored on a two-on-one rush,
sidestepping Canucks defenseman Alex Edler and beating goaltender
Jacob Markstrom with a wrist shot.
"(The Canucks) did a lot of good things," Roy said. "They forced us
to play at another level. I would say, probably, in the third, they
had some really good chances and (goaltender Semyon Varlamov) made
some big saves for us. But, again, we found a way to score big
"(Barrie's goal) was a big one. It was a great play in our own zone
by Maxie (Talbot) and gave us a two-on-one. Tyson did a super play
there to show the skills that he's got, but it was a nice team
Varlamov (41-14-6) finished with 38 saves, and he broke the
franchise record for wins in a single season. The old mark was set
by Roy, who went 40-13-7 in 2000-01.
The loss meant little standings-wise to the Canucks (35-34-11), who
will miss the playoffs for the first time since 2008. But the
performance could have some bearing as new team president Trevor
Linden and a yet-to-be-hired general manager review player personnel
in the offseason.
"It's hard. It is," Vancouver coach John Tortorella said. "These
guys want to play for something. They know, in a couple days, we're
done. But as professionals, I thought they handled themselves really
Center Paul Stastny led the Avalanche with two goals. Fellow
middleman John Mitchell, with an empty-netter in the final minute
while Colorado was on a power play and Markstrom was pulled for an
extra attacker, scored Avalanche's other goal.
Colorado extended its record single-season road win total to 26 a
year after it missed the playoffs for a third consecutive season.
"Last year, it was a whole different team, so we don't really talk
about last year," Stastny said. "It's in the past. We've done a good
job of trying to forget about that."
Stastny said the Avalanche want to keep fine-tuning their game as
the playoffs approach. With a win over the San Jose Sharks on
Thursday, they would secure home-ice advantage in the first round.
[to top of second column]
Center Henrik Sedin and left winger David Booth scored for the
Canucks in a game that was tied 1-1 after the first period and a
Markstrom recorded 24 saves in his home debut. With the Canucks
eliminated from the playoffs, Markstrom made his first start in goal
for Vancouver since being acquired at the trade deadline from the
Florida Panthers as part of the Roberto Luongo deal. The Canucks'
No. 1 goaltender, Eddie Lack, dressed as the backup after 19
Colorado scored on one of four power plays, while the Canucks did
not receive a single man-advantage opportunity because the Avalanche
always took Vancouver players to the penalty box with them.
The Canucks played their first game following Wednesday's hiring of
former captain Linden as president of hockey operations. Linden
replaced fired general manager Mike Gillis as Vancouver's top hockey
Sedin, on a deflection, and Stastny, on a breakaway, exchanged
first-period goals before the scoreless second. The Avalanche went
up 2-1 at 5:21 of the third as Stastny netted his second goal of the
game. A minute and 39 seconds later, Booth roofed in a wrist shot
from a sharp angle, with virtually no net showing between Varlamov,
the post and crossbar, to create a 2-2 tie.
"We played well," said Tortorella, whose job is considered in
jeopardy following his first season behind the Vancouver bench. "We
played hard. It takes us a lot of scoring chances to score a goal.
That has been a recurring theme throughout the year."
NOTES: Canucks D Kevin Bieksa will play for Canada at the upcoming
world championships. ... The Avalanche will return to the playoffs
for the first time since 2009-10 and for the 13th time in 18 seasons
since moving to Denver from Quebec City. ... Colorado backup G
Jean-Sebastien Giguere will head back to the postseason for the
first time in six seasons. ... Veteran Canucks D Jason Garrison, who
has struggled most of the season while playing with a sore groin,
was scratched. Tortorella said Garrison could not go because he was
"sick" before the game. He was replaced by D Frank Corrado, who was
recalled from Utica of the AHL last Saturday. C Jordan Schroeder,
who has not lived up to his billing since Vancouver drafted him in
the first round draft (22nd overall) in 2009, was also scratched in
a move that raised questions about his future. Schroeder, a
23-year-old Prior Lake, Minn., native, is due to become a restricted
free agent this summer.
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.