The Colorado Avalanche haven't had much margin for error in winning the first two games of this lengthy road trip, but Joe Sacco likes their resiliency.
Semyon Varlamov is also making a difference in net.
The Avalanche will try to make things a bit easier on themselves and beat the Ottawa Senators for a fifth straight time Thursday night.
Colorado (2-1-0) is in the midst of playing seven of eight games on the road, and the club opened a season-high five-game trip with a 1-0 win over Boston on Monday. It followed that up by beating Columbus 3-2 in a shootout Wednesday, when rookie Gabriel Landeskog tied the game with 41 seconds to go in regulation.
"I like the fact that we were resilient," Sacco said. "It's hard to win in this league. We found a way to come away with two points."
Varlamov's play may be making the biggest impact for the Avalanche. He has a 1.30 goals-against average and a .960 save percentage while starting all three games after being acquired in a trade from Washington during the summer.
Varlamov made 31 saves while stopping two of three shootout attempts against the Blue Jackets, but it's unclear if he'll get the call on consecutive nights. He's 0-2-1 with a 4.03 GAA against the Senators (1-2-0), with all three contests coming in Ottawa.
That could mean Jean-Sebastien Giguere may get his Avalanche debut. The veteran, who backstopped Anaheim to the 2007 Stanley Cup over Ottawa, went 11-11-4 with a 2.87 GAA in 33 games - 26 starts - for Toronto last season.
He's 4-1-1 with a 1.80 GAA in his last six matchups versus Ottawa, but only one has come at Scotiabank Place.
Matt Duchene was Colorado's leader with career highs of 27 goals and 67 points last season, but he's still searching for his first goal of 2011-12. The center failed to manage a shot through overtime Wednesday before netting the winning shootout attempt.
He has three goals in two games against the Senators, including one to clinch a 6-5 overtime victory Dec. 17 as Colorado's winning streak in the series reached four.
Ottawa would like to end that slide in its only meeting with the Avalanche this season in order to build on Tuesday's 4-3 shootout win over Minnesota to open the home schedule.
The Senators have won six of their last seven at home dating to last season.
Craig Anderson will likely be in net trying to help them continue that success, but he'll likely need to show some improvement against his former team. He's 1-1-0 with a 4.37 GAA through three starts, and made 24 saves through overtime versus the Wild.
"There's going to be nights where you bail the team out and you just have to do it," Anderson told the team's official website. "It's not going to happen every night, but there's going to be nights when the team bails you out as well."
Anderson made a habit of bailing the Avalanche out during the 2009-10 season, posting career highs of 38 wins and seven shutouts while compiling a 2.64 GAA. He was a major reason Colorado reached the playoffs, but he failed to prove that season wasn't a fluke and went 13-15-3 with a 3.28 GAA in 33 games last season before the Avalanche dealt him to Ottawa.
Daniel Alfredsson, who has two goals and one assist so far this season, has scored twice while adding seven assists in his last six meetings with Colorado.