Colorado Avalanche: Success without Duchene and MacKinnon

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Colorado Avalanche
Dec 15, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Colorado Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov (1) makes a save during the first period against the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports /

Varlamov Heats Up

So much of the Colorado Avalanche’s success rests where it has always rested — on the goalie’s shoulders. And coach Roy has already named Semyon Varalmov as the starter for both games.

This makes me a little nervous. Varlamov is a spectacular goalie. He either makes the spectacular saves, or he flops spectacularly. As fellow writer Will Radke pointed out, advanced stats prove Varlamov lets in more soft goals (shots from bad angles) than either Calvin Pickard or Reto Berra.

No question, though, when he’s hot, he’s a brick wall. I wouldn’t say he was exactly hot against the Calgary Flames (90.9 save percentage), but he was pretty toasty against the Vancouver Canucks (96.6%).

The Colorado Avalanche can manage to grind out two or three goals without their leading scorers. They got three goals exactly in 11 of their last 17 games. Of course, they also allow a lot of shots on net — an average of 32 per game. Despite that, Varlamov is simply going to have to allow one or zero goals in the next couple games at least.

He has to get hot. Never mind his wonky groin and weird girlfriend distractions and whatever else makes him suck as a goalie sometimes. He has to be the Vezina finalist goalie he was in the 2012-13 season, at least for two games.

Next: Mentality