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Still unbeaten, but work to do

October 15, 2019, 7:35 PM ET [1 Comments]
Rick Sadowski
Colorado Avalanche Blogger •Avalanche Insider • RSSArchiveCONTACT
The Avalanche are off to a 5-0-0 start, their second best since arriving in Denver in 1995, but they’re hardly satisfied.

They won the first six games in 2013-14 under first-year coach Patrick Roy, went 12-1-0 in the first 13 games and went on to finish atop the Central Division standings, ending a four-year playoff drought before losing to Minnesota in seven games in the first round.

The Avalanche have yet to put together three solid periods in any of the first five games this season, something they hope to do Wednesday in Pittsburgh in the second game of their six-game trip.

The Avalanche scored four quick goals in the first period Monday in Washington on the way to a 6-3 win that included a sloppy second period. A goal by Capitals defenseman John Carlson with 2:06 left in the third that would have shaved the lead to 5-4 was overturned after coach Jared Bednar challenged for offside.

“I don’t think we’ve played our best yet,” goalie Philipp Grubauer told reporters after making 29 saves against his former team. “We haven’t played 60 minutes yet and we’ve got to clean some stuff up for sure. We got the two points and nobody’s asking at the end how (we did it). We just have to clean up a bunch of things.

“It feels great to win the first one, especially against the Caps, and now it’s on to Pittsburgh and we’ll try and keep it going and win the right way.”

Forward Andre Burakovsky, who spent his first five NHL seasons with Washington, had an assist to stretch his point streak to three games. He was given a video tribute in the first period.

“It’s awesome,” he said. “I’m still calling this a second home, a third home. It was nice to see them bring up some old memories and the history we went through. It was fun.”

Nazem Kadri, who scored his first goal as an Avalanche player Saturday against Arizona, had a goal and two assists against the Capitals. The Avalanche also got goals from Erik Johnson, Nikita Zadorov, Matt Nieto and Nathan MacKinnon (empty net).

Defenseman Ian Cole, who had surgery on each hip in the offseason, made his season debut. Paired with Ryan Graves -- Mark Barberio was scratched -- Cole played 15:57, blocked one shot and was plus-2.

"Just tried to keep it simple and get back into the flow," Cole said. "It was great, and now just try and get more comfortable as we go.”

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