Game 42. Avs-Blackhawks. Varlamov Stays Hot as Avs Blank the Hawks

Posted: January 6, 2012 in Avs vs. Chicago Blackhawks, Game Thoughts

Huge win for the Avs. I did not see them going into Chicago and beating the Blackhawks, who were coming off of a loss. You have to give Varlamov a lot of credit tonight, because every good chance the Blackhawks had tonight, he made it look like an easy save.

The game started off exactly how I thought it was going to- with the Blackhawks dominating play early. There were keeping the puck in the Avs zone for a long time and the Avs could not get much going offensively. It was very similar to the Kings game.

I really had not seen a great chance for the Avs in the game when TJ Galiardi just cruised around the rink with the puck for awhile, and after taking a shot, getting his own rebound, and skating around some more, he passed the puck to Erik Johnson who shot the puck and David Jones tipped it in for the goal.

It was a good play by Galiardi, but I’m not sure that keeping the puck for so long is the best way to generate chances.

And it’s about time that David Jones scores a goal. It had been a long, long, time and scoring a goal might help him get back into a groove. Especially a goal that was as important as the first goal in a game against a very good opponent. Hopefully he can keep it up.

But the Avs continued off their success, and early in the second TJ came up with another nice play, and scored on a near empty net to make it 2-0. I’m really not sure how the puck got to Galiardi, but it did and he was able to put the Avs up by 2.

It was also nice to see Erik Johnson get a couple of assists on the first two goals. He had a good game tonight and also played very well defensively.

About 7 minutes later, after doing a great job of killing a penalty by the Avs, Gabriel Landeskog made a great play and intercepted the puck behind the Blackhawks net. He went quickly for a wrap around, missed, but David Van Der Gulik followed up and scored on the rebound. He has played very well for the Avs, but assuming they stay healthy and Duchene, Mueller, and Wilson eventually get back into the lineup, he could be one of the players that is found back in Cleveland.

It was the third period when Varlamov won the game for the Avs. He faced two breakaways fairly early in the period and stayed all over them, keeping them out of the net. If he lets those shots in, it is a completely different ballgame going down the stretch.

The Avs added a late goal by Chuck Kobasew to bury the Blackhawks 4-0. It was a huge way to start a very difficult stretch for the Avs. Playing Chicago and St. Louis on back to back days on the road is a very tough thing to do, and I thought it was very possible that the Avs would return to Denver with zero points, but we know that will not be the case now. A win tomorrow against the Blues would really assert themselves into being a threat for a playoff spot. As for now, the Avs sit in 8th by 1 point, having played at least 2 more games than the teams in 9th and 10th.

The Avs next game is Saturday against the Blues in St. Louis. The game starts at 6 p.m. Mountain time.


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