(SportsNetwork.com) - The rolling Colorado Avalanche will aim for their fourth straight win when they welcome the Winnipeg Jets in Sunday's Central Division clash at the Pepsi Center.
After finishing last in the Western Conference last season, Colorado is off to a surprising 9-1-0 start to the 2013-14 campaign. The hot start has the Avalanche sitting atop the Central with 18 points and second to the San Jose Sharks in both the Western Conference and overall NHL standings.
Colorado began the year 6-0 before losing on Oct. 17 against Detroit. The Avalanche are 3-0 since that lone setback and are coming off Friday's 4-2 win over the visiting Carolina Hurricanes.
Matt Duchene potted a pair of goals and added an assist, as the Avalanche continued their best start to a season with the victory over Carolina.
Alex Tanguay tallied a goal and an assist, while Erik Johnson also lit the lamp for the Avalanche, who have won nine of their first 10 games to match the 1994-95 Quebec Nordiques for the best start in franchise history.
"It's good right now," Tanguay said. "We played another solid game. We made a few mistakes, but we overcame them. It's a lot of fun now."
Semyon Varlamov stopped 28-of-30 shots to backstop the victory. Varlamov is 6-1-0 with a 1.73 goals against average and .948 save percentage on the season.
Colorado is 4-1-0 as the host this season, but has lost two straight and five of its last six home meetings against the Atlanta/Winnipeg franchise. The former Atlanta Thrashers also have claimed two in a row and three of the past four encounters in this series overall.
Winnipeg is coming off a victory, as the club halted a three-game slide with a 2-1 shootout win in Dallas on Saturday. It was the third straight time the Jets went past regulation, following a shootout loss to Washington on Tuesday and an overtime setback in Nashville on Thursday.
After opening a four-game road trip with a 3-2 loss to the Predators, the Jets were able to pick up two points Saturday in Big D. Andrew Ladd tallied the only shootout goal for either team and Evander Kane had the lone goal for Winnipeg in regulation.
After Ladd put Winnipeg up with the forehand score, Ray Whitney skated in slowly but missed wide with his wrister to seal the win for the Jets. Ondrej Pavelec, who turned aside an Alex Chiasson attempt earlier in the shootout with a blocker save, made 35 stops to earn the win for the Jets.
"I thought Pavelec was superb again when he had to be," said Jets head coach Claude Noel. "He had some key saves he had to make at some key times."
Pavelec has started the last six games, but backup Al Montoya expects to get the call on Sunday. Montoya hasn't played since his only start of the season on Oct. 13, when he posted a shutout in a 3-0 victory over New Jersey.