Goalie nods: Varlamov returns after six-game absence

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All the latest from the blue paint…

Varly’s back

Semyon Varlamov will play for the first time since Dec. 5 when the Avs take on the Blues in Colorado tonight.

Varlamov, last year’s Vezina runner up, has been out for the last two weeks with a re-aggravated groin injury. Rookie Calvin Pickard has performed extremely well in Varlamov’s absence — going 3-0-2 over his last five games with a .952 save percentage — and, correspondingly, Colorado has inched up the standings and now sits just nine points back of Los Angeles for the final wild card spot in the Western Conference.

On the year, Varlamov’s 4-6-5 with a 3.21 GAA and .909 save percentage. He’ll be going up against Jake Allen in the Blues net.

Elsewhere…

Preds at Bruins: Tuukka Rask likely for Boston, no word on a Nashville starter.

Leafs at Stars: Jonathan Bernier for Toronto, Kari Lehtonen likely for Dallas.

Flyers at Wild: Ray Emery vs. Niklas Backstrom

Caps at Rangers: Henrik Lundqvist for New York, no word on a Washington starter.

Habs at Isles: Carey Price vs. Chad Johnson

‘Canes at Devils: Anton Khudobin vs. Cory Schneider

Sabres at Red Wings: Michal Neuvirth vs. Petr Mrazek

Pens at Bolts: Andrei Vasilevskiy likely for Tampa Bay, no word on a Pittsburgh starter.

Coyotes at Oilers: Devan Dubnyk vs. Ben Scrivens

Jets at ‘Hawks: Michael Hutchinson vs. Corey Crawford.