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Varlamov Makes 30 Saves in Avs Shutout of Wild

Colorado improves to 4-0-0 in the preseason

by Ron Knabenbauer @RonKnab / ColoradoAvalanche.com

Semyon Varlamov made 30 saves and the Colorado Avalanche remained perfect in the preseason with a 2-0 win over the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night at Pepsi Center.

Chris Bigras and Carl Soderberg buried goals for Colorado in a 1:13 time frame in the middle of the second period, and Varlamov did the rest. The goaltender stopped the next 15 shots, including 10 in the third period.

"There were a lot of shots from outside, I think because the system is working right now defensively," Varlamov said. "The boys, they let me see a lot of shots which is good for me because I can cover potential rebounds. I think they are doing a good job of picking up those rebounds."

Varlamov has stopped 63 of the 64 shots he's faced in the preseason. He denied 33 shots in Friday's 3-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings.

"I feel good right now, but it's preseason and I know the important games start Oct. 15. So I'm looking forward to it," the Russian goalie said.

The Avs opened the exhibition schedule last Tuesday in Minnesota with a 4-1 victory and have now outscored their opponents 13-4 in four contests.

After a 0-0 first period in which the Avalanche was outshot 13-2, Colorado settled down in the second stanza and took advantage on the scoreboard. The Avs outshot the Wild 13-7 and held a 23-14 edge in shot attempts in the middle 20 minutes.

Bigras notched his first goal of the preseason at 9:18 after pinching to the front of the net from the blue line. Jarome Iginla fed the defensemen the puck from the left-wing wall while Bigras was all alone and had an open net to shoot at.

"It was a play that was drawn up there on the board by the coach," Bigras revealed. "It was a good play. Iggy and I kind of made contact earlier when he first got the puck, and it was a great pass from him. He put it right in the wheelhouse, so I had a lot of net to shoot at."

Soderberg tallied his marker at 10:31 as he cleaned up a rebound from Trent Vogelhuber at the right edge of the crease. It was actually the second rebound in the sequence, as Cody McLeod began the play with a slap shot from the point that led to the puck pinballing in the low slot.

Soderberg, Vogelhuber and Gabriel Landeskog were each playing in their first exhibition contests of the season. Soderberg and Landeskog were absent from the first three games after participating in the World Cup of Hockey. Vogelhuber was out while he was recovering from an appendectomy.

The Avalanche killed three short-handed chances against the Wild and has yet to give up a power-play goal in the preseason.

Minnesota used two goalies on Tuesday. Darcy Kuemper started and made 13 saves through two periods before giving way to Alex Stalock, who denied all four pucks he faced in the third stanza.

Colorado now has two games left in the exhibition slate, which continues with the second of a back-to-back on Wednesday night at the Dallas Stars.

Avs netminder Calvin Pickard is slated to get the start in Texas, while Varlamov is expected to play in the preseason finale on Saturday versus the Kings in Las Vegas.

Game time on Wednesday is at 6:30 p.m. MT at American Airlines Center. The contest will be broadcasted live on the radio on AM950 in Denver and on ColoradoAvalanche.com.

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