If there were any doubts about whether or not the Colorado Avalanche were for real, they should be gone after the team shut out the Boston Bruins tonight. While icing their backup goaltender in J.S. Giguere, no less. Head coach Patrick Roy is absolutely dialed in right now and has his finger on the pulse of the Avs despite only being in town for a few months.
Starting Giguere was a stroke of genius by Roy, who knows a thing or two about how the minds of goaltenders work. Colorado hadn’t played since Tuesday and Semyon Varlamov has been outstanding through the 2013-14 season. With the day off and a tough opponent in the Bruins, why not go back to Varly?
Giguere seemed to sense the moment, seized it and made 39 saves en route to shutting out the defending Eastern Conference champions. He made a number of saves that could be classified as spectacular, especially in the second period when the Bruins outshot the Avalanche by a 15-6 margin.
Adam Proteau summed up the feelings of most hockey pundits quite nicely with this tweet.
Regarding my pre-season pick of the Colorado Avalanche finishing 12th in the Western Conference: http://t.co/A8eirbsziz
— Adam Proteau (@Proteautype) October 10, 2013
No one gave Colorado much of a chance to make any noise headed into the season. Some folks questioned the choice to pass over Seth Jones and sited holes on defense as the main reason that the Avs wouldn’t be able to do any damage in the standings. Yet they’ve won their first four games, are showing outstanding scoring depth and are currently leading the Central Division, Western Conference and NHL all together with eight points. You read that right: four games into the regular season, the Avalanche are the best team in hockey. So much for defense being an issue.
The @Avalanche defence was supposed to be a major liability this season. It has taken 2 penalties and allowed 3 goals in 4 games.
— THE STATS GUY (@TH2NSTATSGUY) October 11, 2013
The Avs now have two days off to savor the moment, but we doubt Roy will let up on them. Not with so much on the line this early in the season. The kids on the team look like they’re ready to go to war for Roy, and with contests coming up against the Washington Capitals, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings and Buffalo Sabres in the next week, it isn’t conceivable that Colorado remains at the top of the Central for the foreseeable future.
If you weren’t taking this team seriously prior to tonight, you should be now.