The Colorado Avalanche continue to be the winningest team in the NHL during opening games, taking the 2010-11 season’s inaugural game with a 4-3 overtime victory over the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks.
The franchise honored the anniversary of the 1995-96 Stanley Cup Champion team with a pre-game reunion ceremony. Among the more notable attendees were, of course, Peter Forsberg, Patrick Roy, and longtime captain Joe Sakic. Adam Foote was also honored as being the only player currently active and on the team.
Contrary to their play during the preseason, the team proved that they could put the puck in the net, as the Avs were able to keep up with the defending Stanley Cup Champions. After going down 1-0 while on the penalty kill, Colorado was able to score three unanswered goals, but the Blackhawks fought their way back to tie up the game in the third period.
The young talent for the Avalanche flexed their muscles, with all four of Colorado’s goals coming from the younger players.
Chris Stewart started off the scoring for the Avalanche when the puck took a fortunate bounce off the defender Nick Leddy’s skate in the first period. Stewart would later add an assist in the second period. Head Coach Joe Sacco liked the pace that Stewart was playing at.
“He’s a big, strong guy,” Sacco said about Stewart. “When he takes the puck to the net, he’s hard to contain.”
Matt Duchene scored his first goal of the season off a redirection from Adam Foote early in the second period. Duchene, a devout Avalanche fan growing up, was thrilled to be playing for some of his childhood heroes.
“A lot of those guys out there were gods to me growing up; they were my idols,” said Duchene. “It was amazing playing in front of them.”
Duchene would later add an assist to Stastny’s overtime game-winner.
Paul Stastny scored two goals including the game winner 3:40 into the overtime period.
“Scoring chances were pretty even and when you’re playing against a team like that you’re going to give up good chances,” Stastny said about the game-winner. “But at the same time you’ve got to create your own.”
The Avalanche took seven minor penalties to Chicago’s three. Sacco made it clear that the team had to be more disciplined.
“That’s too many against Chicago,” said Sacco. “If you’re killing off that many penalties against a good hockey team with a lot of skill like that, they’re going to make you pay.”
Colorado’s goaltender Craig Anderson didn’t let any of the goals against faze him.
“For me it was just staying in the moment. Not getting too far ahead of yourself, keeping it a 0-0 game in your head, and worrying about the next shot,” said the Avs netminder.
Looking ahead the Avs face a five game road trip starting in Philadelphia on Monday against the Flyers.
“We just have to get dialed up for some road games,” Sacco said. “It’ll be tough games but [we’ll take them] one at a time.”