Colorado Avalanche rookie forward Nathan MacKinnon has stolen the show in Denver with seven points in two playoff games, but goaltender Semyon Varlamov’s role in the Avalanche taking a 2-0 series lead can’t be overlooked.
The Avalanche goalie turned aside 30 of 32 shots in Colorado’s 4-2 victory last night.
“Tonight, he was rock solid,” Avalanche coach Patrick Roy told the Denver Post. “He made some key saves at the right time, and that’s the type of performance I thought he was going to offer. I’m having so much confidence in him. He’s been our best player all year.”
Colorado took a big chance when they surrendered a first round pick (Filip Forsberg) and Boston’s second round selection (Mike Winther) in the 2012 Entry Draft to acquire Varlamov. For a while that looked like a questionable decision, but Roy and goalie coach Francois Allaire have helped the 25-year-old goalie live up to his potential.
Varlamov had a 2.41 GAA and .927 save percentage in 63 games in the regular season and led the league in saves. His breakout performance was one of the main reason the Avalanche went from being one of the worst teams in the league to one of the best and how far they get in the playoffs will largely depend on his play.
Yeo’s scouting report on Varlamov reveals: ‘This is a great goalie’
The Montreal Canadiens were a bit like Ben Scrivens (in his near-ideal state) this weekend: not always pretty, but they got the job done.
A day after Scrivens thwarted his former team in the Edmonton Oilers in a 5-1 win, the journeyed goalie was integral in Montreal scraping out a 2-1 shootout win against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Now, it’s easy to scoff at two wins against two teams who are – let’s be honest – pretty unremarkable.
The Canadiens aren’t really in a position to laugh off any victory, however. That’s especially true when you consider the fact that this is their first set of consecutive wins since late November.
Even through all this frustration, certain top Canadiens stand out as keeping the team afloat. Andrei Markov hit an impressive milestone:
… While Max Pacioretty scored his 20th goal in emphatic fashion:
As P.K. Subban‘s numbers argue, Montreal’s biggest problem has been getting results from more under-the-radar players. In Sunday’s case, Scrivens delivered.
Montreal still faces an uphill battle, but perhaps a weekend like this might serve as a catalyst for a nice climb?
The Boston Bruins updated Malcolm Subban‘s condition a day after the goaltending prospect was hospitalized after being struck in the throat with a puck.
“Malcolm Subban was struck in the throat with a puck Saturday night during pregame warmups. He was transported to Maine Medical Center and was diagnosed with a fractured larynx. He stayed overnight at Maine Medical Center and was transported to Mass General Hospital on Sunday for further evaluation. He is in stable condition and will be sidelined indefinitely. The team will provide additional details when they become available.”
Awful news, although at least he’s in stable condition.
PHT will stay tuned for further updates regarding the 22-year-old.
Subban did tweet a thanks for support:
A little context makes that a little sad, too.
P.K. Subban seems confident his brother will bounce back.
Pulling Anders Nilsson didn’t stop the bleeding for the Edmonton Oilers. Instead, it really just spread the “wealth.”
The New York Islanders are up 7-1, so don’t be surprised if there’s some ugly stuff in the final frame.
Zack Kassian is an author of at least one outburst, as he was tagged with 19 penalty minutes for a display that included fighting Brian Strait, as you can see in the video above.
It’s not the only fight stemming from the blowout, either, as Eric Gryba just tangled with Matt Martin.
Could there be more?
Update: The game ended on a muted note. The Isles ultimately won 8-1.
There was a time when Anders Nilsson seemed like the best bet in the Oilers’ net this season. This … is not that time.
Less than 12 minutes into Sunday’s game, the New York Islanders roared to a 3-0 lead, and that was enough for Edmonton to give Nilsson the hook.
He allowed those three goals on 10 shots, so to be fair, that’s a pretty impressive chunk of chances (almost a shot on goal per minute).
Still, the Oilers were likely hoping to give Cam Talbot a breather, and instead he was rushed into action. Nilsson hadn’t played since Jan. 19, and he’s only appeared in three games in 2016.
As if this didn’t sting enough for Nilsson, consider the fact that he began his NHL career with the Islanders, who eventually decided he wasn’t worth keeping.