Pickard stops 27 shots to help Avalanche beat Devils 3-0
DENVER (AP) Calvin Pickard stopped 27 shots for his first NHL shutout, Matt Duchene scored 51 seconds in and the Colorado Avalanche beat the New Jersey Devils 3-0 on Thursday night.
Defenseman Tyson Barrie added a short-handed goal and Carl Soderberg an empty-netter to help the Avalanche improve to 9-0-1 in their last 10 games against New Jersey. The Devils haven't won at the Pepsi Center since March 15, 2008.
Pickard started and gave a breather to regular goalie Semyon Varlamov, who's allowed 14 goals over his last four games.
The 23-year-old Pickard began the season with San Antonio of the American Hockey League but was recalled last month for a second time this season after backup Reto Berra hurt his ankle. Pickard has made two starts – both wins – and four relief appearances in 2015-16.
New Jersey couldn't generate many quality scoring chances even though the Avs were green on the blue line with the recent promotion of 20-year-old defensemen Nikita Zadorov and Chris Bigras.
The Devils pulled goalie Cory Schneider for an extra skater with around 2:30 remaining, but it led to a clinching goal by Soderberg with 27.5 seconds left. They dropped to 1-2 on a four-game trip.
Barrie gave Colorado a 2-0 lead early in the second period when he tapped in a puck after a shot by Nathan MacKinnon trickled past Schneider. Barrie is in the midst of quite a stretch. He was recently honored as the league's third star of the week.
Duchene scored his team-leading 22nd goal of the season before many of the fans had time to settle into their seats. Duchene beat Schneider with a wrist shot for the fastest goal to start a game by Colorado this season.
New Jersey didn't have a shot on goal until nearly midway through the first period.
Colorado changed up its defense with Erik Johnson (lower body) and Brad Stuart (back) sidelined. Zadorov is a big, bruising defenseman who was acquired as part of the deal that sent Ryan O'Reilly to Buffalo last June. Bigras was a second-round pick by Colorado in 2013 and made his NHL debut Thursday.
''I said to them it's their chance to push some guys out of the lineup,'' Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said.
Devils forward Bobby Farnham served the first of his four-game suspension for an interference penalty against St. Louis on Tuesday. The league also fined forward Jordin Tootoo $2,000 on Thursday for his second offense of the diving-embellishment rule.
Tootoo was a scratch against Colorado.
NOTES: Devils LW Tuomo Ruutu returned after missing three games with a lower-body injury. … Roy considered bringing up first-round pick Mikko Rantanen, but he said Rantanen is dealing with a hand injury. … Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog had seats under the basket when the Denver Nuggets beat a Golden State team led by Steph Curry on Wednesday. ''That guy is one of the best athletes in the world right now,'' Duchene said of Curry.