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.