Ducks drop season opener to Avs 6-1

DENVER (AP) — Semyon Varlamov was sharp in

making 35 saves, and Jamie McGinn scored two goals, leading Colorado to a

6-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday night in Patrick Roy’s

coaching debut with the Avalanche.

Ryan O’Reilly, John Mitchell, Matt

Duchene and Steve Downie added goals for the Avalanche, who improved to

19-8-7 on opening night. Top pick Nathan MacKinnon set up both of

McGinn’s goals with no-look passes. Alex Tanguay, back with Colorado for

the first time since the 2005-06 season, had three assists.

Varlamov stuffed the Ducks all evening

but lost his bid for a shutout in the closing seconds when Jakob

Silfverberg slipped a shot by him.

Viktor Fasth struggled for Anaheim, allowing three goals in the second period.

Things got heated after the final horn,

with some players getting into a skirmish near the benches. Even Roy got

into the act as he jawed from behind the glass.

At barely 18 years old, MacKinnon is the

youngest player in franchise history to make his NHL debut. He had

quite an eventful game, getting into a skirmish and then dishing out two


His first career point came in the

second period when he sent a pass through the legs of an Anaheim

defender. His other was in the third when he found a wide-open McGinn

skating toward the net.

In large part, this night belonged to

Roy, who drew a loud roar when he was introduced before the game. He and

fellow Hall of Famer Joe Sakic, who is in charge of the day-to-day

hockey operations, are teaming up to restore the luster to an

organization that has missed the playoffs the last three seasons.

Almost fitting that Varlamov should play so well under the watch of Roy, one of the league’s best goalies.

Known for his feistiness during his

career, Roy vowed to bring that kind of passion back to the Avalanche.

He thinks this team can be a contender, even if few prognosticators are

giving the Avs much of a chance of making the playoffs.

“We want to surprise the world of hockey,” Roy said.

O’Reilly got the Avs off to a good

start by scoring the first goal in the Roy era late in the opening

period when he stole the puck from defenseman Francois Beauchemin and

beat Fasth with a wrist shot. O’Reilly, who is making the move to left

wing, also had an assist.

It was a memorable return to the ice

for Downie as he scored his first goal since Feb. 25, 2012. He missed

the majority of last season with a torn knee ligament.

Teemu Selanne didn’t have many scoring

chances for the Ducks as the 43-year-old forward began his final NHL

season. Selanne has spent 15 seasons with Anaheim and is the franchise’s

career leader in goals, assists and games.

Dustin Penner was scratched from the

season-opening lineup because of a lackluster training camp. The right

wing signed a one-year deal worth $2 million to return to Anaheim.

Starting in his place was Patrick Maroon, who got into a fight with Cody McLeod.

“You have to make the point of if you

don’t have a great training camp, this isn’t given to you,” Anaheim

coach Bruce Boudreau said.


Silfverberg (lower body injury) was activated before the game, and

Anaheim sent F Devante Smith-Pelly to Norfolk of the American Hockey

League. … Avs D Ryan Wilson (knee) began the season on injured

reserve. … MacKinnon is living in the basement of goalie

Jean-Sebastien Giguere this season.