The Colorado Avalanche made some big changes in the offseason, with one of the most noteworthy being the hire of Hall of Fame goaltender Patrick Roy as head coach. Early into the 2013-14 season, the Avalanche look like a team that could pull off one of the most impressive turnarounds in recent history, as a win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday night helped the team to a 3-0 start. That marks the best beginning to a season since 1994, two seasons before Roy was between the pipes in Colorado. One thing that was expected with Roy’s hiring was that goaltending would improve, and so far Semyon Varlamov looks like a completely different player than he was last season.
Varlamov’s play isn’t the only reason for Colorado’s early success, but he has limited opponents to just one goal in each of his first three starts. An offense paced by Matt Duchene, P.A. Parenteau and Gabriel Landeskog has done its part at the other end, and the addition of top draft pick Nathan MacKinnon has also been a boost. Varlamov won only 11 games in 35 appearances last season, and if he can bounce back the Avalanche may be able to reach the postseason for the first time in four years. On Tuesday night, Jonathan Bernier proved a worthy foe at the other end, but Varlamov did exactly what his team needed to get the win and stay undefeated.