Colorado Avalanche goaltender Spencer Martin should have a few less nerves and butterflies in his second NHL game; not that he had many in his first contest.
"When I was out there for the national anthem and the start of the game, I was a little more relaxed than I thought I would be, to be honest," Martin said of his first start on Saturday at the San Jose Sharks. "I expected a lot of nerves, but once the game starts you just think of what you're doing as a goalie, and it just goes from there."
Martin wasn't able to pick up the victory in his first outing as the Avs lost 3-2 in overtime at SAP Center, but he did enough for the coaching staff to have confidence in putting him back out there again. He'll get another crack at the Sharks this evening as the clubs close out a home-and-home series at Pepsi Center
"I thought he played real well against San Jose, and we get San Jose again," head coach Jared Bednar said of starting Martin again. "Made some big saves for us. The goals that went in, kind of deflections in front of the net. Giving him a good chance to go back in the net and see if he can kind of repeat that last performance."
The Oakville, Ontario, native is expecting a little different atmosphere in his first home contest.
"I imagine it will be even more fun in front of a lot more Avalanche fans," Martin said. "I really look forward to that.
"I think the nerves will naturally be less, but I still like to keep my energy level and intensity at the same peak."
Martin played well Saturday in his debut in the NHL. He stopped 27 shots, a low number compared to his previous outings in the building as a member the San Antonio Rampage of the American Hockey League.
San Jose's AHL affiliate also plays its home games at SAP Center, and Martin had played in the arena four times previously with San Antonio, including twice this year. He stopped 41 shots on Nov. 5 in a 6-5 win and made 37 saves on Jan. 4 in a 4-2 loss. Also, his first AHL shutout came at the home of Sharks on Jan. 10, 2016 when he stopped all 21 shots faced.
"I think that helped me a ton, actually," Martin said of knowing his way around the visiting rink. "Just everything from the routine of being in that city and in those hotels. It definitely made me feel comfortable."
Video: Spencer Martin on his first and second starts
Martin's poise in the crease was noticeable to Bednar.
"He didn't surprise me, but I thought he had a good night. He looked confident," Bednar said. "He was out challenging the shots. He looked good. He looked like he belonged. He had a good game for us. I'm sure it was an exciting night for him and his family. He played well, and he got us a point, so it's nice to see that. We know that he's been playing real well in San Antonio as well. It's good to see him continue that up here."
With goalie Semyon Varlamov out through at least the All-Star break with a groin injury, Martin will be with the Avs through the week. However, he does have plans this weekend in the AHL, as he'll take part in the league's All-Star Classic in Allentown, Pennsylvania, with fellow San Antonio rookie AJ Greer.
Martin is the first goalie in Rampage history to go to the all-star festivities after putting together a solid start to his first full AHL campaign. At the time of his most recent call-up to Colorado, the 21-year-old had posted a 15-9-2 record, 2.62 goals-against average and .915 save percentage in 27 outings.
He was also among the league leaders in wins prior to his two December call-ups. He is now fifth overall in AHL victories, three behind frontrunner Jack Campbell of Texas.
INJURIES AND LINEUP NOTES
Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie and forward Rene Bourque will remain out of the lineup this evening, as both players are dealing with lower-body injuries.
Tonight will be the third contest that Barrie has missed due to the ailment, while it will be Bourque's second. Barrie aggravated something during Colorado's game against the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday, while Bourque got hurt in the first period of Thursday's contest at the Anaheim Ducks.
Head coach Jared Bednar said he is going to use the same lineup as he did on Saturday versus the Sharks. He also noted that goaltender Calvin Pickard will get the start on Wednesday against the Vancouver Canucks.
"Both of Picks' last two starts against Vancouver were good," Bednar said. "I think it was a shootout at home [in a] loss, and then he played real well in their building, too. Gave us a good chance to win."
Wednesday's contest is the Avs' last one before the NHL All-Star Game.
Video: Coach Bednar's pregame press conference
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