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Avalanche climb over .550 for first time


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Semyon Varlamov was near amazing yet again, though his shutout streak was snapped. Varlamov seems to be healthier than ever this season and looks to be in the form that saw him chasing Tuukka Rask for the Vezina last season.


After a sensational 54 save shutout against the Blackhawks, Varly was able to regroup and play two nights later against Ottawa where he continued to play well, stopping 36 of 38 shots, and stopping 90 of 92 shots in the last two games. The first goal scored against was a pass Varly never saw and the second was a TERRIBLE give away by Johnson straight to Bobby Ryan. The Avalanche will take on the Dallas Stars on Saturday where Varlamov should be the starting goalie at Pepsi Center.


Alex Tanguay tallied his 800th career point on a feed to Jarome Iginla. Majority of Tanguay's points were with Calgary and Colorado, but number 800 belongs in Denver with his favorite line buddy. Jarome would score his 11th and 12th goals of the season tonight, he sits just 1 goal shy of Mike Bossy's 573 goals. Iginla has caught fire in the last 21 games where he has 10 goals, his first 20 games Jarome has just 2. 


Erik Johnson continues his career year scoring his 11th of the season. Johnson is on pace for a 20 plus goal season. His defensive play has been impressive of late, excluding the terrible giveaway to Bobby Ryan.


Brad Stuart scores his first career goal in Colorado and the shot was a cannon! Ryan O'Reilly has two helpers tonight which continues his silent climb. Daniel Briere also blew a hole in the net with a rocket for his 8th of the season. Even though Matt Duchene did not score, he also added a helper which is his third assist in the last four games. Since returning from his hamstring injury, Stuart has been fantastic with 1 goal 5 assists and a +5 since his return. (0g,0a -4 before his injury.)461201412_slide.jpg


It was just the wrong time for Ottawa to come to Denver and the Avalanche chased Craig Anderson from the net after scoring 3 goals on 9 shots. Robin Lehner would come in relief and stop 10 of 12 shots.


While the Avalanche got multiple goals tonight and stayed healthy in the offensive zone, they were out shot 38 to 21. Something that is expected from last season. Its not always how many shots you take, but what you do with the shots. Nor how many shots you face, but how many are to the outside. The Avalanche did a great job keeping the shots to the outside again tonight, a handful found the center of the ice like a few partial breakaways that Varlamov stuffed, including one with 11.6 seconds left in the game. 


Semyon Varlamov after the game, "I don't want to talk about myself. You're the goalie, you have to go out there every game and be ready every shot. Its a better feeling when you win the games, the old guys happy, its nice to be happy. When you lose you have to see their grumpy faces." How do you feel "I feel good, its a tough schedule since Christmas." Last two games 1.00 goals against .978 Save percentage 2 goals allowed on 92 shots.


The Avalanche will look to continue to build confidence on this win, for the first time this season Colorado is over .500 in the win department. Semyon Varlamov also pulls over .500 and now owns a 9-8-5 record, his goals against have dropped from a 3.40 to a 2.76. The team climbs over .500 at home with a chance to pull two games over .500 with a win against Dallas.


Dallas is on a tear of late going 6-2-2 in their last 10 including a 2-3 overtime loss to Nashville tonight. This is the stretch of games that could put the Avalanche into the playoffs, as the now sit just 5 points away from 8th place Winnipeg, but it wont be easy. Puck drops at Pepsi Center Saturday at 1pm. 


Patrick Roy after the game, "The fact that we are winning hockey games is positive. We have not played well defensively, and we will have to play better than that against Dallas if we want to win." Are we seeing Alex Tanguay former set up style? "Yeah, he made a really nice pass that almost gave Jarome a hat trick, he is a good fit for Jarome." Winnipeg, Dallas are ahead of you "Lets not get ahead of ourselves, lets continue to score goals, lets get better on defense." 



(Photos by: avalanche.nhl.com photographers) 

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Soooooo much talent, but a hell of a hole they dug for themselves.


Same thing with the Stars, plenty of time left, but a sense of urgency is needed to get in. Calgary is fading, Winnipeg is, well, Winnipeg, I could see colorado going on something like a 15-4-1 run or some such easier than seeing the Stars do it. It is possible both could make it in but if I had to bet on one, it would be the Avalanche.

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