On the verge of record win streak, Avs roll with Giguere

4 Comments

The Colorado Avalanche are one win away from posting their longest single-season home winning streak since moving to Denver in 1995.

And they’re going to try and get it with Jiggy in goal.

Yes, veteran netminder J.S. Giguere will get his fourth consecutive start tomorrow against Tampa. This is noteworthy for two reasons: One, Giguere’s been playing inspired hockey as of late (1.62 GAA, .949 save percentage over the last three wins) and two, he’s relegated Semyon Varlamov to backup status.

And that’s noteworthy, because Avs GM Greg Sherman paid a small bounty for 23-year-old Russian netminder. It cost a unprotected first round pick (and a second-rounder in 2012 or 2013) to get him, then a three-year, $8.5 million deal to lock him up long-term.

While Varlamov’s $2.8 million annual cap hit isn’t huge, it’s a $2 millon raise from what he was making in Washington. It’s also double what Colorado is paying Giguere annually ($1.25 million) — and based on recent comments by head coach Joe Sacco, the team could have a goaltending controversy on its hands.

“Right now, it’s not too much of decision because Giggy is playing so well,” Sacco told the Denver Post. “We’ve won games, we’re getting results.”

Sacco’s in a precarious spot. His team has rallied to get back to .500 (earlier this month they were 13-16-1) and within spitting distance of a playoff spot, so wins are at a premium. In that light, it makes sense to roll with Giguere — but that only further buries Varlamov, who’s supposed to be Colorado’s No. 1 guy.