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Avs Need To Be Better

Coach Jared Bednar backs Semyon Varlamov after loss to Blues

by Ron Knabenbauer @RonKnab /

It's easy to see the final score of 5-1 and blame the goaltender.

That's not how Colorado Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar went about it after the team's four-goal loss to the St. Louis Blues at Scottrade Center on Sunday afternoon.

Starting goalie Semyon Varlamov made 20 saves in 40 minutes of action, which included 13 stops in a crazy first period that could have put the Avs in a hole they would never recover from. St. Louis led 2-0 after the opening frame after scoring twice in the first 3:35 and had several odd-man rushes that were stopped by the aerobatics of Varlamov--including a breakaway to start the contest.

"As far as Varly's game is concerned, [the score] could have been twice that bad at the end of the first period and he held us in it," Bednar said. "I feel bad for him in a way because you look at the starts and when he's giving up all those goals, he's standing on his head early and we're not ready to go from the start. Especially a team like St. Louis, in this building, you can't spot them those chances early on. You can't do it."

Bednar wasn't pleased with what he saw from many of the skaters in front of the Avs netminder.

"If you're on your heels and defending all night--hey, some guys played their hearts out--but if you have too many passengers against a four-line team like St. Louis that is coming at you all night, it gets pretty tough," Colorado's coach said. "You have to have everybody going and tonight we didn't."

Video: Coach Bednar's postgame press conference

Avalanche alternate captain Francois Beauchemin said everyone on the club needed to be better.

"We have look at each other and look ourselves in the mirror," Beauchemin said. "We can all give more. It's not one, two, three, four guys. I think it's everybody that has to step up their game. When we all play well together, we're a good team. But when we're down to a few guys, things are not working. We really need everybody to work hard and play the system well."

Despite the tough first period, the Avs were still in the contest with the score only being 2-0.

The Avalanche got to within one goal at 6:30 of the second period, as Matt Duchene scored on a redirection in front off Beauchemin's shot at the blue line. However, the floodgates once again opened for a Blues team that entered the outing with just seven goals in their last six games.

St. Louis added three tallies in the final minutes of the stanza and took a commanding 5-1 lead into the locker room. That late flurry also ended the night for Varlamov, as Bednar put backup Calvin Pickard in net for the third period.

"Second period, we didn't have a first good couple minutes, and then we played 15 minutes of good hockey and it's 2-1," Bednar said. "And then they score and we're late in the second period, trying to get though it, and we make mistakes and they come down and go bang, bang, bang. We're not going to change the goalie with a minute to go in the second period or two minutes to go. You're just hoping that you don't keep making those mistakes, and we did and it cost us."

Video: Francois Beauchemin talks about the loss

According to Beauchemin, any momentum Colorado had built in the second period was lost on Jaden Schwartz's man-advantage goal that made the game 3-1 with 5:06 left until the intermission.

"I think we had a good start in the second until about three quarters in when they got their third goal off the power play," Beauchemin said. "We created some good things before that, but that goal kind of turned things around and then they took some momentum with three quick goals. That was tough."

Defensively, the Avalanche had a better third period. It only allowed three shots on goal and seven attempts overall, but the damage was already done.

Bednar admitted that there was likely at least one goal that Varlamov would want to have back, but he liked what he saw from his goalie.

"I said that two games ago, he has to be better," Bednar recalled of his postgame scrum at United Center. "Because in Chicago we were in complete control of that game, and he dropped one and they scored. That doesn't mean it's on him tonight. We had a lot of guys that needed to be better tonight. I'm not sure he was one of them. Maybe there was a goal he would want back at the end of the second, but you give him 2-on-1's against a talented group, they're going to find a way to score."

With three games in four days and zero practices in between to work on stuff, there will be plenty for the Avs to do when they reconvene at Family Sports Center on Monday.

"We have been playing here every second night so it's been a little bit of pre-scout work and less review," Bednar said. "Now we have to go back into the video and see how we're giving up the chances and some of the soft plays we're making with the puck."

Beauchemin said the players better be ready to go on Monday in preparation for Tuesday's game against the Arizona Coyotes, the next opponent in a month where the Avs are playing 14 games in 30 days.

"We just have to use tomorrow as a good practice day and get back to the basics and go to work," Beauchemin said. "Just have a good practice tomorrow and get ready for Tuesday."


Forward Cody McLeod returned to the Colorado lineup after being a healthy scratch for five consecutive games.

McLeod took the spot of Blake Comeau, who scratched for the first time this season.

The 10-year NHL veteran finished with two hits in 6:45 of ice time while playing on a line with John Mitchell and Andreas Martinsen.


Defenseman Fedor Tyutin recorded the secondary assist on Matt Duchene's second-period goal for his 200th helper of his NHL career.

Tyutin, who is in his 13th NHL campaign, signed with Colorado as a free agent on July 1 after spending the previous eight years with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The assist for the Izhevsk, Russia, native was his third of the season, which matches his point total from all of last season with Columbus (one goal and two assists).

Tyutin was playing in his seventh game with Colorado on Sunday, his third-straight contest after missing four outings because of a groin injury in late October.


Avalanche defenseman Nikita Zadorov has played NHL games over the course of four seasons, and on Sunday afternoon he finally appeared in his 100th career contest.

The Moscow, Russia, native was a first-round draft pick (16th overall) of the Buffalo Sabres in 2013 and earned a spot on the the club out of his first training camp. He made his NHL debut on Oct. 19 versus Colorado and would go on to play six more games with the Sabres before being sent back to his junior team, the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League.

Zadorov appeared 60 games with Buffalo the following season before the Avalanche acquired him in a trade at the 2015 NHL Draft on June 26. He had two assists in 22 contests last year with the Avs and has already matched that point total in 11 outings this year.

The 21-year-old has been paired on defense all year with veteran Erik Johnson. The duo is the only combo on the backend that has remained the same during the early season.

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