Roy says Avs ‘need more consistency’ from forwards

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The Colorado Avalanche lost again last night, falling 3-2 to the Ducks at home. The defeat dropped the Avs’ record to 3-5-5. So far this season, only five teams have gained a lower percentage of points from their games than the 2013-14 Central Division champs.

While head coach Patrick Roy has largely kept his cool and stayed positive during the Avs’ tough start, that doesn’t mean he’s happy.

“We have to find ways to play 60 minutes,” he said (video).

“We’re going to need more consistency, especially from our forwards. Everybody’s talking a lot about our D, but I think we have some forwards that are capable of giving a little more to the team.”

Roy singled out the play of veteran Jarome Iginla — “Jarome lost his position, he lost his D” — on the Ducks’ third goal, scored by defenseman Cam Fowler.

Reason for optimism?

On Tuesday, the Avs host the Canucks, a team Colorado dominated on Oct. 24.

The caveat in saying that?

Vancouver won’t be playing the second game of a back-to-back this time.

“It doesn’t have to be always pretty,” said Roy. “Sometimes, it’s just good game management, be smarter in our decisions, and keep it more simple. … Things are not always going to go our way. And it’s when things are not going our way that we try to force plays, push plays, and this is where we get into trouble.”

Rask surprised to learn Bruins have won five of seven

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For as tumultuous as Boston’s start has been, the team has played reasonably well of late and secured 10 of a possible 14 points.

All of which came as news to Tuukka Rask.

“We won five out of seven? Oh yeah?” Rask said, per the Boston Herald. “It doesn’t feel like it. It feels like we have been losing and winning.

“But you know it’s better, it’s good, the right way.”

The B’s started the year 2-4-0 and things hit their lowest on Oct. 16, when Rask was hooked after allowing five goals on 23 shots in an eventual 6-4 loss to Montreal. Losing to their heated rival after last year’s playoff ouster was one thing, but Boston looked downright rattled — and nobody embodied that frustration more than Milan Lucic, who received a misconduct penalty at the end of regulation and was later fined $5K for making an obscene gesture towards Montreal fans.

Since then, though, things have improved.

Lucic has been better, scoring six points in his last six games, but the real story has been the less-heralded individuals that’ve stepped in and provided quality efforts.

In Saturday’s 4-2 win over Ottawa, Matt Fraser was a late insertion for the injured David Krejci and stole the show, scoring a pair of goals while finishing as the game’s first star. Rookie Seth Griffith has five points in his last six games, and first-year backup Niklas Svedberg has a 1.66 GAA and .940 save percentage.

Much credit here is due to head coach Claude Julien, who has done well in keeping the team afloat despite a depleted blueline (Zdeno Cara, Torey Krug and Kevan Miller all out with injures) and the departures of Johnny Boychuk and Jarome Iginla.

It makes sense, then, that Boston rewarded Julien with a three-year contract extension this weekend, with one of the club’s veteran presences — Dennis Seidenberg — shedding light on how Julien has gotten his new, inexperienced players to perform at a quality level.

“He’s proven in the past that he knows how to coach,” Seidenberg said, per the Herald. “He knows how to teach a young team to play a system.

“I really enjoy playing for him and I think all the guys in here do.”

Report: Coach Julien inks three-year extension with Bruins

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The Boston Bruins have agreed to a three-year contract extension with coach Claude Julien, according to CBC’s Elliotte Friedman. The 54-year-old is in his eighth season as the Bruins’ bench boss.

When Julien took over the team, Boston had missed the postseason for two straight campaigns and hadn’t won a playoff series over its last seven seasons. Under his guidance though, Boston has reached the postseason for seven straight years and in 2011, the Bruins won their first championship since the 1970s. They made it to the finals again in 2013, but lost to Chicago.

Not including tonight’s game against Ottawa, Julien has won 435 career regular season games, which is good for 28th place on the all-time head coaching list. Julien also won the Jack Adams Award in 2009.

This season might be one of his most challenging in years though. The Bruins were forced to watch Jarome Iginla walk over the summer due to cap restraints and they traded defenseman Johnny Boychuk for the same reason. They’re also trying to get by right now without Zdeno Chara (knee), Torey Krug (finger), and David Krejci (undisclosed).

Jets power past slumping Avs in OT

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Any hope that the Colorado Avalanche would build off of their 7-3 breakout victory against the Vancouver Canucks on Friday has been dashed. The Winnipeg Jets are the only team in the Central Division with a worse record than the Avalanche, but they still managed to earn a 2-1 overtime win against the reigning division champions.

It was the sixth time in nine games that Colorado was held to two or fewer goals. Jarome Iginla and Matt Duchene were held off the scoresheet after excelling against Vancouver while sophomore Nathan MacKinnon is still searching for his first goal of the season.

To make matters worse, Erik Johnson suffered an undisclosed injury after being hit into the boards by Winnipeg’s Mark Stuart, per the Winnipeg Sun’s Ken Wiebe. He missed most of the third period and overtime as a result.

Colorado nearly survived to a shootout, but a shot by Andrew Ladd that was deflected by Bryan Little managed to trickle by goaltender Semyon Varlamov:

That was Little’s fifth marker of the season. No one on Colorado has more than three goals so far.

More like it? Avs crush Canucks

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Ten seconds in, it seemed like Friday might be another miserable night for the Colorado Avalanche, as Henrik Sedin gave the Vancouver Canucks a 1-0 lead. The Avs responded in a big way with a total effort, eventually throttling the Canucks by a score of 7-3.

Vancouver managed to carry a 2-1 lead into the second period, but Colorado carried the play and eventually overwhelmed Eddie Lack & Co.

Colorado won the shot advantage in every period, finishing with 48 versus Vancouver’s 29 shots on goal:

First: 15-8
Second: 16-9
Third: 17-12

Naysayers might point out that the Canucks were on the end of a back-to-back stretch, but it’s unlikely that Colorado will be bothered by such talk.

The Avalanche won their first game at home. This also represents Semyon Varlamov’s first win of the 2014-15 season.

If all of those factoids don’t do it for you, chew on this: the Avalanche dominated possession.

/Throws confetti.

source:

 (via Natural Stat Trick)

/Throws more confetti.

source:

(via War on Ice.)

/Runs out of confetti.

Anyway, with a 2-4-2 record, the Avalanche obviously aren’t out of the woods yet. Still, as much as Patrick Roy insists that he’s confident with his system, things were getting awkward for a moment there.

Tonight was a true celebration for Colorado. Not only did Matt Duchene score a beauty, but Jarome Iginla found the net twice. Even polarizing pickup Daniel Briere collected a tally.

Iginla made some history with his second goal:

… Which was quite nifty, by the way:

The upcoming schedule is pretty interesting for the Avs.

Sunday: at Winnipeg
Tuesday: vs. San Jose
Thursday: vs. the Islanders
Nov. 1: at St. Louis
Nov. 2: vs. Anaheim

Such a slate seems far more up-for-grabs after a night like this, eh?