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Varlamov shines again, Avs cant score


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The fourth straight game in a row that Colorado has allowed 38 shots or more. Semyon Varlamov was sensational once again as he only allowed two goals on those 38 shots. Not including blocked shots or missed shots, the Avalanche goaltender has faced 170 shots allowing 7 goals in those four games. It seems that Varlamov's early season injuries have faded and his play from last season has moved back into the picture.


As well as Varlamov has been playing, the Avalanche forwards have found some goal scoring, but not enough. 5 goals against Ottawa is not the hardest thing in the world. Since Ottawa is struggling to find consistency in their game. The Avs were able to get four goals past the Dallas Stars, another team that in struggling this season. However, when the Avs play teams that are higher up in the standing, like Chicago or Washington, their goal scorers cannot seem to find offense. Halfway through the second period against the Capitals. Colorado was only able to plant 8 shots on goal. They finished the second and third with 24 shots, including 17 in the third period. Yet they could not find a way to put home a goal. Against Chicago, the Avs managed only 23 shots on goal and their only two goals came on the first two or three shots of the game. 


The only consistent clicking for the Avalanche other than their goalie had been their penalty killing. They were 15 for 15 before allowing one of the most dangerous power play scorers loose. The Avs failed to cover a wide open Alex Ovechkin who buried a shot against his buddy Semyon Varlamov, that would go onto to be the game winner. The Capitals scored an empty net goal, but the play was offsides and was waived off as no goal. 


Colorado will play the NHL's 29th place Carolina Hurricanes tonight. The Avalanche will sit Semyon Varlamov for the first time in nine games and play rookie Calvin Pickard. Calvin last played for the Avalanche just 17 days ago against the Chicago Blackhawks, a game he played well enough to win the game but the rest of the team did not. Pickard is 6-6-2 this season with a rookie leading .934 save percentage and a second place 2.21 goals against. Pickard was sent in relief the last time Colorado played the Hurricanes, when Reto Berra allowed three goals on less than 10 shots in the 1st period. Calvin made 17 saves and shut Carolina out, the Avs were able to come back and win the game. 


The Hurricanes will play Anton Khudobin in net tonight. Khudobin is 2-8-2 this season but has won his last two starts against the Boston Bruins and New Jersey Devils. The season for Carolina, like the Avs, has not been a story book year. Carolina is in 29th place in the NHL and their chance at even thinking about the playoffs is all but gone. Carolina will likely end up with a top three pick that could land them either McDavid or Eichel. Jordan Staal has returned from injury and has played six games for the Canes, he has yet to score a goal but has three helpers. Eric Staal has played in 37 of Carolinas games this season and has 26  points along side a minus-10. 


The Avs know this will not be an easy game despite the standing of the Hurricanes, the most dangerous teams in the NHL are on the bottom and they can certainly ruin teams shot at the playoffs, we've all seen it happen. When a team needs to win one game to make the 8th seed, the other team loses, you should bet this non-playoff team..... but you don't, now you are a non-playoff team. The Avalanche will need to be the puck possession team tonight and be the out shooting opponent. They have not outshot the opposing team since their 4-3 loss to Columbus four games ago, they outshot Columbus by only two shots. 



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