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At the Rink blog

Giguere getting third straight start for Avs Sunday

Sunday, 11.20.2011 / 3:53 PM

By Rick Sadowski  -  NHL.com Correspondent / At the Rink blog

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At the Rink blog
Giguere getting third straight start for Avs Sunday
DENVER -- Signed as a backup on July 1, Jean-Sebastien Giguere will make his third consecutive start in goal tonight when the Colorado Avalanche play the San Jose Sharks at the Pepsi Center.

Giguere, 34, is coming off a 3-0 win against Dallas on Friday when he made 24 saves, and he's stopped 41 of 42 shots in his past two starts.
   
"He's played very well the last two games and he deserves to get back in there," Avalanche coach Joe Sacco said after the morning skate.

The Avalanche sent first- and second-round draft picks to Washington on July 1 to acquire Semyon Varlamov and signed him to a three-year, $8.3 million contract, but he's struggled after getting off to a hot start. Varlamov, 23, is winless (0-5-1) in six starts since a 3-2 victory against Los Angeles on Oct. 30.

"It's a situation where he played very well for us early on and he's going through a tough stretch," Sacco said. "Sometimes the best thing for a young goaltender is to see what's going on."

Giguere has played well in each of his seven games -- six starts and one relief appearance -- and is relishing another chance to return to the crease.

"You always want to play as many games as possible," said Giguere, who has a 4-2 record with a 1.68 goals-against average and .934 save percentage. "(Varlamov) is the guy they see as their future, the future of this team. It's normal to go through a slump, especially when you're young. He had a lot of emotion at the beginning of the year and that kind of slowly dies down as the year goes on. He just has to recapture that somehow.

"Everybody knows what he's capable of doing. He's working extremely hard in practice. Until then, as a backup, you have to be ready for situations like that."

Giguere's role includes being a mentor and sounding board for Varlamov, who owns a 5-8-1 record with a 3.30 GAA and .890 save percentage.

"I'm here to be a good teammate, too," Giguere said. "I've been through what he's going through many times. If anybody in this room knows what he's going through, it's me. I talk to him as much as I can and try to keep him positive, try to keep him smiling. That's what they wanted me here for. They know that with a young guy sometimes things can go wrong. It's always good to have a good veteran presence helping the young guy along."

The Avalanche will be trying to win back-to-back games for the first time since a five-game winning streak on the road from Oct. 10-17. It won't be easy against the Sharks, who are on a 5-1-1 roll and have gone 10-2-1 since Oct. 21.

The Sharks won their second game in a row with a 4-1 victory Saturday night in Dallas and didn't skate this morning.

"They're one of the powerhouses in the Western Conference and in the league," Sacco said. "They play a real strong cycle game, have a lot of big, strong power forwards and a big defense corps. They play a pretty straightforward game. They try to spend time in the offensive zone and wear you down. They're going to be a great test for us."
Quote of the Day

The groove of being behind a bench is going to be interesting at first, but thank God we have a few exhibition games to get rid of those cobwebs. Overall the excitement of it all and the freshness and coming back refreshed, all those things are going to be assets. If [the players] come ready to give their best effort in practice and games, good things are going to happen. I'm always looking for results. It's not always on the scoreboard. It's winning and building something.

— Bryan Trottier on making his return to coaching as an assistant with the Sabres