Semyon Varlamov had a third straight rough outing last night. The Avalanche goalie, in a big game against Minnesota, allowed three goals on 12 shots and was replaced by Calvin Pickard after 20 minutes.
The Avs went on to lose, 6-3, with two empty-netters surrendered. In the process, Colorado was passed by the Wild in the race for the final wild-card spot in the West.
Varlamov has now allowed 11 goals in his last three starts. His save percentage in February (eight appearances) was a modest .897. He’s off to a .750 start in March.
Avs coach Patrick Roy told reporters that Pickard was likely to start Thursday against Florida, but didn’t want to heap too much blame on Varlamov.
“I’m not going to throw Varly under the bus here,” Roy told the Denver Post. “There’s highs and lows in a career, and those things happen. Right now, it’s a bit tougher time for him, and Pick’s been playing really well.”
To be fair to Varlamov, two of the three goals he allowed last night were on Wild breakaways; the other came on a 2-on-1.
But Roy has always expected a lot from his star goalie. The way the Avs play, they’re going to give up some chances. That’s why Varlamov has been so important for them when he’s been on top of his game.
“We made mistakes, but at the same time these are important saves,” Roy told reporters. “I know it’s breakaways and I know it’s a 2-on-1 and we could’ve done better in those areas. But that’s part of the game.”
Varlamov’s save percentage has fallen to .912, a few points below the league average .916.
Pickard’s is .918.