The victory was especially sweet for goaltender Semyon Varlamov, who moved to 4-0; allowing only one goal in each contest. Saturday’s game marked the first time he had faced the Capitals; with whom he played three seasons with after they selected him in the first round of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.
"In the warm-up, my legs were shaking," said Varlamov. "The whole first period my legs were shaking, but after first period, I [felt] so much better.”
Varlamov made a season high 40 saves, including 19 in the second period alone. The Avalanche offense was also up to the task, exploding for five goals.
Included amongst the tallies was the first NHL goal for first overall draft pick Nathan MacKinnon. The 18-year-old center also added an assist on a Jamie McGinn goal to give him six points in his first five NHL games.
Alex Tanguay also scored his first goal since returning to the Avalanche, netting two including a shorthanded goal. Matt Duchene had the other goal for the Avs, deking underneath the Washington defenseman’s stick before beating goaltender Michal Neuvirth top shelf.
Prior to the game, the team placed defenseman Matt Hunwick on waivers with the intention of sending him to the Lake Erie Monsters. In a corresponding move, they also activated defenseman Ryan Wilson from injured reserve.
The Avalanche, who were unbeaten during their three-game road trip, will return home Tuesday to take on the Dallas Stars.