No matter what happened in overtime or a shootout, Tuesday was already a victory for the Avalanche. Playing with only 16 skaters much of the game against the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks, the Avs rode the brilliant goaltending of Semyon Varlamov to a big point through an even first 60 minutes on the scoreboard. The Avs rewarded him with the extra point in overtime and a 3-2 victory when Tyson Barrie blasted a one-timer past Corey Crawford with 50.7 seconds left, not long after Chicago captain Jonathan Toews was penalized for tripping Andre Benoit. It was Barrie's second goal of the night, and the third OT goal of his career to set a franchise record for most by a defenseman. But Varlamov was the night's clear first star, as he stopped 46-of-48 Chicago shots in regulation in stealing the win for a short-handed group. "I just tried to stop the first shot, and my teammates helped me clear any rebounds," said Varlamov, who has not lost in regulation since Dec. 10, a span of 15 straight games. "We were missing some players against a very good team, so I knew I had to play well." Avs coach Patrick Roy, who knew a thing or two about stealing games when his team needed it as a player, called Varlamov "outstanding." "He's been like this since the start of the year," Roy said. "They had four power plays in the first 21 minutes, and that gave them a lot of momentum and they took a lot of shots in that period time. But quite frankly, it's finding a way to win, and that's what our guys did." Barrie hammered his shot past Crawford after Matt Duchene set him up with a backhand saucer pass into the left circle. The Avs never let Chicago out of its zone on the OT power play, while they killed all five Chicago power plays they faced overall.
Semyon Varlamov brilliant as Colorado win at Chicago in OT
Denver Post | Jan 15