Colorado's Nathan MacKinnon, the No. 1 overall draft pick, had two… (David Zalubowski / Associated…)
DENVER — In an effort to revive a once-powerful franchise that has fallen on hard times competitively and at the box office, the Colorado Avalanche brought Hall of Fame goaltender Patrick Roy back to coach and hired former team captain Joe Sakic to make personnel decisions, in concert with Roy.
Both received enthusiastic ovations from the Pepsi Center crowd when they were introduced before Wednesday’s game, and the team they’re building gave fans more reasons to cheer as the Avalanche dominated the Ducks in a 6-1 rout in the season opener for both teams.
Roy and Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau were jawing at each other at the end of the game and players milled in front of the benches before peace was restored.
BOX SCORE: Colorado 6, Ducks 1
The Ducks didn't score until 6.4 seconds remained in the game. The goal by Jakob Silfverberg was one of 36 shots they took on goalie Semyon Varlamov, who had an oustanding performance for a Colorado team that was predicted to be vulnerable in net and on defense. The Ducks' Viktor Fasth faced 29 shots but got little help from his defense most of the night.
Boudreau made an interesting decision by scratching a healthy Dustin Penner from the lineup on the grounds that Patrick Maroon had worked harder and had a better training camp than Penner. The Ducks had hoped the veteran left wing would be inspired to work hard by being reunited with Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf, his linemates on the Ducks’ 2007 Stanley Cup championship team, but he didn’t impress the coaching staff enough to win a job anywhere in the lineup Wednesday.
The Avalanche scored its first goal at 15:39 of the first period. Ducks defenseman Francois Beauchemin attempted a cross-ice pass that was intercepted by Ryan O’Reilly, who skated in alone on Fasth and unleashed a shot that eluded Fasth low on the stick side.
Goals in the second period by Steve Downie (a rebound on the power play), John Mitchell (through Fasth), and Jamie McGinn, on a setup by No. 1 overall draft pick Nathan MacKinnon, put the Avalanche in control. MacKinnon fed McGinn for Colorado's fifth goal, at 11:14 of the third period.
A bit of perspective: MacKinnon was born on Sept. 1, 1995, while Ducks right wing Teemu Selanne was preparing to play his fourth NHL season. Selanne, 43, has said he will retire after this season.
Matt Duchene scored the final goal during a third-period power play, finishing off a slick passing play.
The Ducks are scheduled to practice in Denver on Thursday before flying to Minnesota to face the Wild on Saturday in St. Paul.
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