Patrick Roy makes his first visit to Verizon Center as coach of the Colorado Avalanche Saturday night, with his team one of three remaining undefeated squads along with San Jose and St. Louis.
The Avalanche, fueled by their talented crop of young forwards and strong goaltending, are 4-0-0 and have outscored their opponents 13-3 thus far without allowing more than one goal in any single contest. They’re a quick-skating team and the Capitals will have to find a way to contend with that speed.
“When you watch the tape everything’s going their way right now. When they make mistakes its not going in the net and sometimes teams go through that,” Coach Adam Oates said. “They want to skate and sometimes they’ll skate at the risk of gambling, you’ve got to be prepared for that. They’ve gambled and it’s been winning so far.”
Several Capitals said it will be a neat experience to see Roy behind an opposing bench. They all grew up watching him, to some extent.
“Try not to look,” said goaltender Braden Holtby. “He was my hero growing up; try not to meet your idols, I guess.”
Said Alex Ovechkin: “Patrick Roy like legend. Of course probably when I’m going to skate in front of bench I’m going to be like this [offers a head nod] and say ‘Hi’ to him because I respect that kind of person.”
Troy Brouwer also enjoyed watching Roy’s career.
“Being from Vancouver we didn’t really like Roy in Montreal, but you cant argue with the things he was able to do over his career,” Brouwer said. “I love his comments off the ice, I think he’s a great personality for the NHL.”
Here’s the projected lineup for the Avalanche:
Alex Tanguay-Paul Stastny-Gabriel Landeskog
Ryan O’Reilly-Matt Duchene-Steve Downie
Jamie McGinn-Nathan MacKinnon-P.A. Parenteau
Cody McLeod-John Mitchell-Patrick Bordeleau
Jan Hejda-Erik Johnson
Tyson Barrie-Nate Guenin
Andre Benoit-Cory Sarich
Semyon Varlamov is expected to start. J.S. Giguere will back up.