Jean-Sebastien Giguere gave the Avalanche a much-needed boost at home. Giguere made 24 saves for his first shutout in two seasons and Colorado beat the Dallas Stars 3-0 Friday night for a rare home win. Paul Stastny and Chuck Kobasew had a goal each and Matt Duchene scored an empty-net goal with 4.5 seconds left to seal the win and snap Colorado's three-game skid.
Giguere's last shutout was against Ottawa on Feb. 6, 2010, when he was with Anaheim. "I don't play for shutouts, I just want to give the team a chance," he said. "I've always said a shutout is a team thing." Giguere was signed in the offseason to serve as Semyon Varlamov's backup but has put up better numbers than the young Russian. That earned him the start on back-to-back nights for the first time in nearly four years and he responded with his 35th career shutout.
"He's playing very well," Colorado coach Joe Sacco said. "The play that we've gotten from him is exactly what we expected." Giguere is 4-2 with a 1.68 goals-against average in seven games this season while Varlamov has struggled with a 5-8-1 record and 3.31 goals-against average in 14 games. Despite the numbers, Giguere said Varlamov is still the No. 1 goalie in Colorado.
"The future of this team belongs to Varly, there's no doubt about that," Giguere said. "Just like any young guy on this team you're going to have ups and downs. I don't have any doubt about Varly. You know he's going to bounce back. My job in the meanwhile is to take over and try to do the best that I can and give the team a chance."
The Avalanche needed Giguere to help them change their fortunes in Denver. Colorado has struggled at home this season, and Friday's win was just their third in 10 games here.
"We've talked about wanting to establish our play at home, be a good home team," Sacco said. "That was a good start." Kobasew gave Colorado a 1-0 lead when he redirected a shot by Ryan Wilson 6:10 into the first period. It was Kobasew's third goal of the season. "I got a piece of a good shot from the point," Kobasew said.
The Avalanche nearly made it a two-goal lead early in the third when Gabriel Landeskog was in front of goalie Kari Lehtonen near the end of a power play. Lehtonen stuffed the rookie's shot and the rebound shot by Ryan O'Reilly to keep it 1-0. They finally got the insurance goal on a power play when Stastny poked in a rebound with 5:26 left for his sixth goal of the season.
"Getting a two-goal lead changes the aspect of the game and loosens everyone up," Stastny said. Lehtonen had 42 saves for Dallas, which has lost four straight. It was the fifth time the Stars have allowed 40 or more shots. "When I am seeing over 40 there are going to be mistakes and goals," Lehtonen said.
The Avalanche lost 1-0 in Minnesota on Thursday night, but 24 hours later handed Dallas its second shutout loss on consecutive nights. The Stars lost to Florida 6-0 at home Thursday. "The Florida game was terrible all the way around," Lehtonen said. "We were better today."
Dallas couldn't generate much against Colorado. The Stars had nine in the third period when they tried to get the equalizer. The Stars took three penalties in the game's final seven minutes to make any comeback even tougher. The Avalanche outshot the Stars 16-4 in the first period and 33-15 through two frames. Colorado had the only power play through the first 40 minutes. Dallas got its first man-advantage opportunity with 15:43 left in the game but couldn't get a shot on net.
Notes: The Stars will introduce their new owner, Tom Gaglardi, president of Northland Properties Corp., at a news conference Monday in Dallas.... Colorado's eight-game homestand is its longest continuous homestand since moving to Denver. The Avalanche had a nine-game homestand in 2001-02 that wrapped around the Winter Olympics.