Trend Continues, Another Tight and Wild One
Thursday, 01.30.2014 / 1:45 AM
By Ron Knabenbauer
In the first four meetings of the season, the Avalanche and the Wild played tight games both on the ice and on the scoreboard.
Two games were decided in the shootout, while the other two were two-goal affairs that weren't solidified until the Avs scored late empty-net goals.
A close game was once again the case Thursday as Colorado survived a three-goal third period by Minnesota and pulled out a 5-4 victory at Pepsi Center.
The win helped extend the Avalanche's lead over the Wild for the final guaranteed-playoff spot in the Central Division to nine points. Colorado also has three games in hand on Minnesota and has the head-to-head tiebreaker in its back pocket after winning the season series, 4-0-1.
"It was a big win for us. More importantly, we picked up nine points of a possible 10 (against Minnesota), which is something great," Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said. "Our players certainly deserve a lot of credit for it. We had to play well against these guys and that is what we have done all year."
Avalanche's Varlamov Seals Deal With 27th Win
Thursday, 01.30.2014 / 11:22 PM
DENVER -- Colorado Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov had plenty to celebrate Thursday.
Varlamov signed a five-year, $29.5 million contract extension before stopping 31 shots in a 5-4 win against the Minnesota Wild at Pepsi Center.
Varlamov established a career high with his 27th win and set a franchise record with his 10th win in January as the Avalanche solidified its third-place standing in the Central Division.
"I'm excited," he said. "It's great news for me. I'm happy. I want to say thank you to the organization to give me a chance to play for this team. Thanks for my teammates. I think they have played very well for me. That's why I signed that contract, because they helped me."
Colorado (34-14-5) finished the season series with a 4-0-1 record against fourth-place Minnesota (29-21-6), and increased its lead to nine points (73-64) with three games in hand.
"It was a big game for us," said center Matt Duchene, who had two assists. "We have three games in hand, and we're up [nine] points in the standings. That puts us well ahead, and we just have to keep taking care of business."READ MORE >
• The Avs finished 10-3-1 in January, reaching 10 wins in January for only the third time in franchise history … Colorado was 11-1-2-2 in January 2004 and 10-0-3-1 in January 2001.
• This marks Colorado’s second 10-win month of the season (10-1-0 in October).
• Semyon Varlamov earned his 27th victory of the season, setting a new career high … His previous high was 26 wins in 2011-12.
• Varlamov finished 10-1-1 in January, setting a new franchise record for wins in the month of January … Varlamov’s 10 victories tied the franchise mark for victories in any month … He is the fourth Avalanche/Nordiques goaltender to win 10 games in a single month. COMPLETE NOTES & QUOTES >
POSTGAME PODCAST Altitude Radio with all the highlights from Thursday's win against the Wild
PHOTO GALLERYClick below for a full gallery from Thursday's game!
MORNING SKATE REPORT
Avs Look to Widen Lead Over Wild in Standings
Thursday, 01.30.2014 / 4:10 PM
By Ron Knabenbauer
The Colorado Avalanche players are very aware of where the team is in the standings: third in the Central Division with 71 points and a 33-14-5 record.
They also know they trail second-place St. Louis by six points and division-leading Chicago by eight points, and that Minnesota is chasing them for the final guaranteed playoff spot in the division.
The Avalanche will look to help itself in the standings and widen its seven-point lead over the Wild tonight in the final meeting of the regular season between the clubs.
"The standings are there in the hallway every day," Avs defenseman Nate Guenin said. "Guys are aware of where we stand. We just want to keep winning, keeping getting those points and keep climbing that ladder and make it tougher for the teams behind us to catch [us]."
In the first four matchups this season between the former Northwest Division foes, Colorado and Minnesota have played tight games, both on the ice and on the final scoreboard. The Avs have already won the season series, posting a 3-0-1 record, but two games were decided in a shootout and two more were one-goal affairs before Colorado pulled away with empty-net tallies at the end.
PREGAME PODCAST Altitude Radio gets with Landeskog, O'Reilly and Roy before Avs vs. Wild
TONIGHT'S GAME: AVS OPEN TWO-GAME HOMESTAND
• The Colorado Avalanche opens a two-game homestand tonight against the Minnesota Wild at Pepsi Center.
• The Avalanche will close out this two-game stay on Saturday afternoon against Buffalo, the club's last home game before the Olympic Break.
• The Avs, who are coming off a 2-1-0 road trip, are 6-2-0 in their last eight games, 7-2-1 in their last 10 and 10-3-1 in their last 14. Colorado is 7-2-2 in its last 11 home games and is 17-7-3 at Pepsi Center this year (.685).
• The Avalanche is 9-3-1 in January and with a victory tonight would reach 10 wins in January for only the third time in franchise history. Colorado was 11-1-2-2 in January 2004 and 10-0-3-1 in January 2001.AVALANCHE & WILD
The Avalanche and Wild are meeting for the fifth and final time this season.
• Colorado is 3-0-1 versus Minnesota this year, 1-0-1 at home and 2-0-0 on the road.
• Colorado is 38-28-12 all-time against the Wild.
• The Avs are 20-15-4 all-time at home versus the Wild and 18-13-8 on the road.
• Gabriel Landeskog leads Colorado with five points (3g/2a) in four games against Minnesota this year.
• Semyon Varlamov is 2-0-1 with a 1.58 GAA in three games against the Wild in 2013-14.
• Patrick Bordeleau was drafted by the Wild (4th round, 114th overall, 2004). COMPLETE NOTES >
Avs Look for Distance From Wild in Central Race
Thursday, 01.30.2014 / 8:52 AM
WILD (29-20-6) at AVALANCHE (33-14-5)
TV: Altitude, Fox Sports North
Last 10: Minnesota 6-3-1; Colorado 7-2-1
Season series: This is the fifth and final game. The Colorado Avalanche have won three of the first four meetings with two games being decided in a shootout. The Minnesota Wild are 1-0-1 at the Pepsi Center this season.
Big story: Minnesota will look to climb to within five points of Colorado for third place in the Central Division standings as the teams play out their final few games before the Olympic break. READ MORE >