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Barrie Joins Elite Company

by Ron Knabenbauer / Colorado Avalanche

Tyson Barrie's name is now alongside some of the best defensemen in Colorado Avalanche history.

Barrie recorded two assists Friday night at Honda Center and surpassed the 50-point milestone for the first time in his career. He is the fourth defenseman in Avs history to reach the half-century mark in a season, joining Sandis Ozolinsh (four times), Rob Blake (twice) and Ray Bourque as the only players to do it in a burgundy and blue sweater.

Blake was the last blueliner to reach the achievement, doing so in 2005-06 when he registered 51 points.

Tyson Barrie

The 23-year-old helped on both the game-tying and winning goals in Colorado's 4-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks, extending his team lead among defensemen in assists (39) and points (51). He is tied for first in blueliner goals with Erik Johnson (12).

Overall, Barrie is tied for sixth in the league in scoring among defensemen.

Colorado now leads the NHL with six 50-point producers this season with Jarome Iginla (56), Gabriel Landeskog (56), Ryan O'Reilly (53), Alex Tanguay (53), Matt Duchene (53) and Barrie (51) all reaching the mark. It is the first time the team has accomplished such a feat since the 2005-06 campaign. In comparison, the Avalanche had five 50-plus point scorers last season when the squad won the Central Division championship.

Barrie's second assist helped create the winning tally at 9:08 of the third period. Barrie and Dennis Everberg worked to clear the puck out of the defensive zone during an Anaheim scoring chance, creating a breakaway opportunity the other way for Duchene. The Avs forward raced for the loose puck and gathered it at the far blue line. He then streaked toward the net, went backhand to forehand with the puck and placed it between John Gibson's pads.

"I had a similar opportunity earlier in the game," Duchene said after the contest. "I replayed it a lot in my head, thought I could have slipped in five hole and fortunately it worked."

The first helper by the defensemen tied the game 2-2 during a power play late in the second period.

The young rear guard pushed the puck up the wall to Alex Tanguay, who skated to the low left circle before dishing it to Gabriel Landeskog in the slot. The Colorado captain scored his 23rd goal of the year on a shot that went into the top corner of the cage with 3:08 left in the middle stanza.

"It was bouncing a little bit down the wall there, it bounced out to Tango," Landeskog said. "We kind of had a short 2-on-1, and he put it on a tee for me. All I had to do was get it upstairs, and it worked."

Barrie and Landeskog are tied for the team lead in power-play points with 16 each.

BERRA GOOD

For the third time in nine days and for the second consecutive game, Reto Berra was the starting goaltender for the Avalanche.

Berra had another strong outing as he stopped 35 shots for his fourth win of the season. He made 25 saves in a loss on Wednesday at San Jose and denied 33 attempts in a win at Vancouver on March 26. It was the first time he had started back-to-back games since November when he started three straight contests (Nov. 20 vs. Washington, Nov. 22 vs. Carolina, Nov. 25 at Arizona).

"Honestly, he has been playing really well lately," Avs coach Patrick Roy said of his backup goalie. "That is exactly the guy that we made the trade for. I think it is starting to pay off for us. He is playing some very good hockey… I'm very happy with his play, and I am glad that sometimes when you work hard, you get rewarded, and that is exactly what is going on."

The Ducks, which hadn't lost in regulation when tied after two periods (9-0-5), were coming hard at Berra in the final 20 minutes, but the Swiss keeper was up to the challenge and stopped all 15 shots he faced.

After allowing Rickard Rakell's goal late in the first period, Berra made 28 straight saves to close out the contest.

"Every time I can play it’s an honor for me, and I try to give all I have," Berra said after his 18th appearance of the season. "It was another good game. The last two games were all really good. Today I got another win. It was nice."

Semyon Varlamov will be back between the pipes for Colorado's game on Saturday at the Los Angeles Kings, the second half of the team's final back-to-back of the year. Roy had given Varlamov a choice for which game he wanted to play, Anaheim or L.A., and the Russian netminder decided for the extra day of rest before facing the defending Stanley Cup champions.

NO GOAL IN FIRST

Colorado got on the scoreboard first at Honda Center on John Mitchell's tally at 6:33 of the first period, and that goal could have given the Avs a 2-0 lead.

Minutes earlier, it appeared as if Freddie Hamilton scored on a rebound at the right post, but the goal was disallowed because of a crease violation. The officials ruled that Jordan Caron, who was standing in front of Anaheim goalie John Gibson, had established himself in the blue paint and prevented Gibson from making the save.

"It's pretty annoying. I haven't really seen the replay," Hamilton said. "It would have been nice to get a good start with a goal. If he wasn't in the crease, then it is pretty annoying."

The goal would have been Hamilton's second of the season, and the second of his career. He recorded his first tally on March 20 at Arizona.

MORE NOTES

- Matt Duchene registered his 21st goal of the season and his second in as many games. The last time he had goals in back-to-back contests was Nov. 13 and 15 at the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils. He also added an assist against Anaheim and now has three goals and four assists in his last five contests.

- Duchene went 9-for-12 (75 percent) on faceoffs against the Ducks. Colorado won the overall faceoff battle 29-27.

- Dennis Everberg recorded a goal and an assist for his second career multi-point performance. He also had a tally and a helper on Feb. 14 versus Dallas. His goal, coming via an empty net, was his third of the season.

- Cody McLeod appeared in his 545th career game, breaking a tie with Peter Forsberg for the fourth most regular-season contests by an Avs player since the franchise relocated to Denver in 1995. Only Milan Hejduk (1,020), Joe Sakic (870) and Adam Foote have played more games with Colorado.

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