Avs Roundup. Games 40-45. Varlamov Surging As Avs Maintain Progress

Posted: January 13, 2014 in Uncategorized

Semyon Varlamov continues to impress the NHL, with a record of 8-0-5 in his last 13 games, propelling the Avs securely into a playoff spot for the time being.
MacKinnon-Varlamov
The Avs added four huge points being Philadelphia and San Jose early in January. Jamie McGinn continued to roll added a goal, while Ryan $’Reilly netted the other for Colorado. Semyon Varlamov was on top of his game, stopping 29 shots, and all 9 he saw on the three Colorado penalties. The only shot to weasel its way past the Russian was a deflection off of Wayne Simmonds stick in front. While no goals were scored in the third, the period was quite exciting to watch.

Avs games against San Jose continue to be interesting to say the least. Colorado jumped out to a 4-0 lead early in the second period, thanks to three goals in a 66 second stretch coming from McGinn, Erik Johnson, and Nathan MacKinnon. The rookie is really coming into his own, and thanks in part to Tomas Hertl’s injury, is now the rookie scoring leader. The Sharks bounced back, and had the game within reach at 4-3, but Varlamov made saves when he needed to, securing the victory. Varlamov stoned Joe Pavelski on a breakaway late in the third to ensure 2 points.

Maybe the most disappointing loss of the season was against Calgary. The Avs, riding a 3 game win streak, couldn’t beat a Flames team that was in the midst of a 7 game streak where they were shutout 5 times. J.S. Giguere was in net, and was less than stellar. The 36-year-old netminder stopped just 15 shots on 19 attempts and gave up a late powerplay goal to Mike Cammalleri to give the Flames the win. Giguere, who has cooled off significantly since his hot start, is in the last year of his contract, and I am starting to wonder if the Avs should re-sign him at all.

The Avs next couple of games went to overtime, but with different results. First was Tyson Barrie wristing a shot past former Av (and quitter) Craig Anderson for the OT win, a play set up by Paul Stastny behind the net sent the Avs home happy.
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A couple of days later, it was Michael Grabner who was the hero, with a great individual effort in overtime, led the Islanders to a 2-1 victory. Again, Varlamov was solid, stopping 22 of 24 in 61+ minutes of work. Unfortunately the Avs coughed up the lead with a third period goal by Brock Nelson, and couldn’t rebound in overtime.

Finally, Colorado picked up a huge win over the Minnesota Wild by a score of 4-2. The Avs have earned 7 of a possible 8 points against the Wild this year, which is huge considering the two teams are going head to head for the third playoff spot in the central division. Avs fans can exhale a little bit with 6 points up and 3 games in hand over Minnesota, while Dallas has lost 6 in a row, taking them out of playoff contention for now.

JS Giguere has gone down with an injury (back spasms), so the Avs have recalled Sami Aittokallio from Lake Erie. If Giguere doesn’t heal quickly, look for Aittokallio to start against either the Devils on Thursday, or Nashville on Saturday.

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