The Colorado Avalanche have a long season ahead of them, but so far they’ve defied expectations. Under rookie head coach Patrick Roy, they won their third consecutive game on Tuesday and the key was once again was stellar goaltending.
Semyon Varlamov was near perfect against the Toronto Maple Leafs and you could argue that the word “near” is unnecessary in that statement. He turned aside 27 of 28 shots and the one he missed was borderline as an argument could be made that play should have been called dead.
You can judge that for yourself though:
Either way, Varlamov stayed strong and with a little help from his teammates, earned a 2-1 victory. He’s now allowed just one goal in each of the Avalanche’s first three contests.
“He made a big commitment this year to come in ready, right from training camp,” Roy said, according to NHL.com. “Right now what I like about his play is that it’s simple. Every time you look at him, it looks easy.
“He’s always square to the shooter. He’s at the right place and he plays a simple game. I think that’s the reason he’s having so much success.”
It wasn’t always this way for Varlamov. The Avalanche saw his promise when they acquired him from the Washington Capitals, but his first two seasons with Colorado produced mixed results at best. So far though, it seems like Roy has been a positive influence on the 25-year-old goaltender.
With their mothers traveling on the road trip — Matt Bartkowski‘s mom, Beth, has become a cult hero in Vancouver after another priceless media interview — the Canucks took back-to-back wins, moving them right back into the thick of the playoff fight in the Western Conference.
Up by a goal in the third period, defenseman Alex Biega played the hero, pulling the puck out of the crease after it got by Ryan Miller on a backhand shot from Kyle Chipchura, maintaining Vancouver’s lead.
Phaneuf burned on Zetterberg game-winner in Sens debut
“I put my stick there, he put (the puck) under and he made a good shot. I’ve got to have a better stick in that situation, but you’ve got to give him credit for that play.”
Phaneuf finished the night with a minus-one rating and two hits in almost 22 minutes of ice time, putting him second among Sens defensemen in that category behind Erik Karlsson, who played a whopping 33:30.
Phaneuf drilled Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser with a hard slap shot early in the third period.
DeKeyser played one more shift — all of 10 seconds — before exiting the game.
Blashill says DeKeyser has a bruise, not a break. Will know more tomorrow, but probably day-to-day
The New York Rangers are likely too far behind the Washington Capitals to take any legitimate run at the Atlantic Division down the stretch.
But winners now of four straight, the Rangers have opened up a bit of a gap between them and other Eastern Conference teams in the playoff race. New York scored a 3-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, winners in six of their last seven games, on Wednesday.