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Wrap-Up: Avs Stretch Point Streak to 11 with Varlamov's Shutout

The netminder made 24 saves to earn 24th shutout

by Callie Parmele @CallieParmele /

DETROIT--Semyon Varlamov stopped all 24 shots he faced to record his first shutout of the season and the 24th of his career.

Varlamov's clean sheet helped the Colorado Avalanche defeat the Detroit Red Wings 2-0 on Sunday in its only visit to Little Caesars Arena this season and improve the team's record to 9-0-2 in its last 11 games.

The Russian netminder has now registered 20 shutouts as a member of the Avalanche, the second most in franchise history behind only Patrick Roy (37).

"I liked him a lot, he kept us in the game in the first period," head coach Jared Bednar said of his goaltender. "We were sluggish, looked like we were the team that traveled and played last night. Kind of a slow start, no pace to our game. They came out hard and they were winning the first period for sure, so we are lucky to get out of that at 0-0.

"I thought we sort of flipped the script on them in the second period. We were the aggressors, and we started to get some real good O-zone possession time, some good looks at the net. Ends up being the difference was just a power-play execution off that faceoff."

Despite playing on Saturday night in Boston, the Red Wings came out firing and outshot the Avs 13-7 in the first period. Colorado came back in the second and had a 13-6 edge in the category for the frame and ultimately held a 29-24 advantage at the final horn.

"It's always nice to face some shots and not give up any goals, it gives you confidence, but I didn't face that many shots in the second period," said Varlamov. "I kind of tried to stay focused, but the guys played well in front of me. Like I said, sometimes you face 40 shots, sometimes 15. It doesn't matter, you still have to stay focused all the time."

Video: Varlamov after his shutout in Detroit

Varlamov is now 6-0-1 in his last seven starts and the Avalanche now has points in 11 consecutive games for the first time since 2006-07 when the club went 10-0-2 over a 12-game stretch from Feb. 27 to March 24, 2007.

Five of the games in the current stretch have been decided by a one-goal margin. Colorado led by one-score for most of the final two periods before Gabriel Landeskog tallied an empty-netter in the final minute of play.

"The game was 1-0 today. It was a little stressful, it's not like you are leading 5-0 with five minutes left," Varlamov added. "We knew that Detroit was going to push back in the third period. Like I said, they are a good team and never give up. They are playing all 60 minutes so we knew that and just tried to stay focused."

The Avs have won six consecutive road games, their longest road win streak since Oct. 8 to Nov. 1, 2013. The club is 10-4-2 on the road and has the most away points in the NHL (22) and a league-high 62 goals in visiting arenas.

TOP LINE STRIKES AGAIN (AND AGAIN): Colorado's top line of Gabriel Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen all factored on the same goal for the 15th and 16th times this season.

MacKinnon scored his 19th marker of the season on the power play in the second period after Rantanen found him in the low slot just six seconds after the man advantage began.

Video: COL@DET: MacKinnon buries quick passing play for PPG

In 27 contests this season, the trio has combined for 188 points (46 goals, 72 assists), the most of any three teammates in the league.

Rantanen remains the league-leader in scoring with 45 points (11 goals, 34 assists), tying the Avalanche scoring record through 27 games set by Peter Forsberg in 1995-96. Rantanen also ranks first in the NHL in assists.

MacKinnon ranks second in overall scoring with 43 points (19 goals, 24 assists) and is tied for third in goals. He finished Sunday's contest with six shots and now leads the NHL with 117 shots in 2018-19.

GIRARD HITS CENTURY MARK: Defenseman Samuel Girard skated in the 100th game of his NHL career. He had three shot attempts and two blocked shots in 21:03 of ice time. 

Girard has 35 points (six goals, 29 assists) in his career, including 12 points (two goals, 10 assists) this campaign. 

The Nashville Predators' second-round selection (47th overall) of the 2016 NHL Draft, Girard has played all but five of his NHL contests with the Avalanche. Colorado acquired the blueliner last season on Nov. 5, 2017 in a three-way trade that also included the Ottawa Senators.

BACK-TO-BACK PHYSICAL GAMES: There were 46 combined hits in the contest, and Ian Cole fought in the second straight game while Patrik Nemeth also dropped the gloves.

It was the second physical game in a row for the Avalanche, as its previous outing against the St. Louis Blues on Friday also featured a fight and 35 hits. 

"There are things I like about [the physicality]. We are not shying away from it, we are still continuing to play our game," said Bednar. "Guys want to run out of position and look for hits, and we are trying to chip it past them and skate onto the puck which we have been doing a nice job of, still continue to make plays during those times. I want to see us sort of control our emotion a little bit more in there. 

"I like the fire that we have, but I don't want us to get wrapped up in the officiating or stuff that is going on after the whistle. You still got to focus on that task at hand. You got to play hungry, you got to play mean and you got to be physical, be tenacious, but you still have to focus on the job you have to do when the puck drops."

Video: Matt Calvert talks about the game at the Red Wings

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