CHICAGO -- It was the kind of game that called for a vintage Patrick Roy performance in net.
Instead, Roy watched Semyon Varlamov lead the injury-plagued Colorado Avalanche to a 3-2 overtime win Tuesday night at United Center, beating the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks for the second time in three games.
Varlamov stopped 46 of the 48 shots he faced, didn't allow Chicago (30-8-11) to score on five power plays and held off the Blackhawks long enough for Tyson Barrie to end it 4:09 into OT with his second goal of the game.
"He's been like this since the start of the year," the Avalanche's first-year coach, said of Varlamov. "He's been outstanding. We rally around him and that was the type of performance we needed from our goalie to beat the Blackhawks."
That's because the Avalanche (29-12-5) are dealing with a rash of injuries. They came into the came with four players on injured reserve and also didn't have backup goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere (back) or center Paul Stastny (leg), each believed to be day-to-day.
Prior to the game, Roy planned to play seven defenseman because of Stastny's absence, but wound up icing 17 skaters after Cory Sarich was a late scratch with a back issue of his own. The Avalanche then lost Erik Johnson to a back injury during the game.
Johnson played one shift midway through the third, leaving Colorado with five defenseman and 11 forwards to finish the game.
"It's been a bit wild the last week or two," said Barrie, who missed the previous game at the Minnesota Wild with a minor shoulder issue. "Everyone seems to be going down with something. I think it says a lot about our team. We're well-coached, we know what we're doing and when guys step in it's pretty easy on us. Guys have done a good job filing in."
Barrie is at the front of that list.
His two goals gave him five for the season, but three have come in his past three games and he's scored a pair of overtime winners. Barrie's first against Chicago opened the scoring at 14:58 of the first and needed some fortunate bounces to beat Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford. His game-winner was a one-time laser off a cross-ice feed by Duchene that left Crawford (23 saves) no chance.
The victory exacted a measure of revenge for a 7-2 defeat against the Blackhawks here on Dec. 27, but also put the Avalanche (63 points) even further ahead of the Minnesota Wild (55 points) in the Central Division. Minnesota lost 3-0 to the Ottawa Senators.
Colorado sits third in the Central and holds the division's last guaranteed spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
"It's always tough when you have injuries, but we knew what we wanted to do in here," Barrie said. "They embarrassed us last time we were in here and these are a huge two points for us. We want to keep climbing and [securing] our playoff spot."
Barrie's second goal made the Blackhawks pay for a hooking penalty called on captain Jonathan Toews, who hauled down Andre Benoit near the Avalanche blue line at 3:34 of OT. It was that kind of night for Chicago, which outshot Colorado 48-26 and controlled play for most of the game.
"I think we did a lot of good things," Toews said. "Tough penalty in the overtime period there. We’ll keep working [and] not get overly frustrated by that game. It is a frustrating game, but we’ll stay with it and we know we can build off that effort and start playing better hockey than we have been the last few games.”
Oduya was credited with his third goal of the season at 8:12 of the second, cutting the Avalanche's lead to 2-1, when Brandon Saad (two assists) fired a shot from the slot that ricocheted off Shaw and Oduya before sailing into the net. Shaw picked up his second point at 7:27 of the third, tying it 2-2 by sliding a shot inside the left post after attempts by Marian Hossa and Saad resulted in rebounds.
Varlamov, Barrie and Ryan O'Reilly were responsible for Colorado's 2-0 lead after the first 20 minutes. Varlamov made several big stops to weather the Blackhawks' early attack, which paved the way for the goals by Barrie and O'Reilly 1:02 apart in the final five minutes.
"We played well right off the bat in the first period and then we just kind of maybe let up and we gave them that two-goal lead," Toews said. "I think the rest of the game, we kept coming back. We put a lot of pressure on them for the next 40 [minutes]. We just couldn’t find a way to score enough goals to win."
"You just keep playing," Varlamov said. "It doesn't matter if you lead or they lead. You just keep playing. We started this game very well and did a good job on the penalty kill. The guys blocked shots and played very well in front of me."
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