Semyon Varlamov might just rise to the challenge

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If Semyon Varlamov’s goal was to prove that the Colorado Avalanche didn’t over-pay to get him, it’s unlikely that his life has been very pleasant this season.

Ultimately, the Avalanche just want the young netminder to be their go-to guy, which hasn’t happened often enough this season. When Jean-Sebastien Giguere went down with a groin injury, many believed that Colorado’s playoff run would die with it.

As it turns out, the injury instead opened the door for Varlamov to play his best hockey when his team needs it the most.

The athletic Russian goalie shut out the lowly Columbus Blue Jackets on 28 shots in a 5-0 win tonight, giving him a two-game winning streak in which he’s allowed a single goal.

Two games is far from a trend in an 82-game season. In fact, his record remains below .500 at 17-18-2 with pedestrian individual stats. Still, he could redeem himself – and two some extent, Avalanche GM Greg Sherman – if Varlamov can guide the Avs to a playoff berth.

Colorado in the thick of West playoff race

It’s certainly not out of the realm of feasibility, either, as the Avalanche are in a four-way tie for eighth place with 66 points. Sure, they’re technically in last place among that quartet because they’ve played an extra game, but they also are tied with eighth-ranked Dallas with the most wins of the four at 31.

Those details matter, but ultimately it’s all about how they play through April 7. Right now, the Avalanche have to feel a lot better about their situation in net – and the potential redemption of their seemingly failed No. 1 goalie – which probably makes them more optimistic about the postseason as well.