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Varlamov, Avs Win Goaltending Duel Against Preds

by Ron Knabenbauer / Colorado Avalanche

In the first meeting between Colorado and Nashville, 11 goals were scored and the Avalanche held on for a 6-5 win.

The second meeting was completely different as the Avalanche’s Semyon Varlamov and the Predators’ Pekka Rinne went save-for-save in a goaltending duel.

Varlamov came out as the victor over Rinne as he made 34 saves and received some help from teammate Tyson Barrie, who scored the game’s only goal in overtime.

The shutout was Varlamov’s third of the season and the 11th of his career. It was also the third time that he had posted a 1-0 shutout as a member of the Avalanche.

Colorado could have very well been down on the scoreboard in the first period, but the Russian goalie didn’t allow it, making several spectacular saves in the opening frame. A glove stop on a Kevin Klein shot in front at 11:43 and a pad save on a Nashville 2-on-1 rush with nearly two minutes remaining in the period were among his highlights in the first 20 minutes.

He especially had to be at his best in the first stanza with the Avs shorthanded three times. He stopped all seven shots he faced while Nashville was on the power play in the period, which included a 5-on-3 chance for 33 seconds.

“Our goaltender was outstanding," said Avalanche head coach Joe Sacco. "He played great for us. He came up with very timely saves, especially on the 5-on-3 in the first period, and that's what you need to help you get out of a little bit of a ditch sometimes."

Varlamov said making the first couple saves in the opening period was important for him to get into a rhythm for the rest of the game.

“For the goalie, especially, you have to make that first save,” he said. “You feel much better [depending on] how you start the game.”

Varlamov’s solid play continued for the next two periods as well, and he gave Colorado the chance to win the game in overtime as he made a shoulder save on a close Matt Halischuk backhand shot with 27.7 seconds left in regulation.

“It was outstanding to get that backstop by Varly,” said Avalanche center Matt Duchene. “He gave us enough time, and we were able to get it done in the extra frame.”

Having A Barrie Good Time

Tyson Barrie became the first rookie defenseman in Avalanche history to score an overtime goal as he beat Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne with a rebound shot 50 seconds into the extra period.

Rinne made the original save after Greg Zanon fired a slap shot from the high slot, but the puck bounced right off his pad to Barrie, who tapped it into the cage on one-knee before completely falling to the ice.

“I knew [Zanon] was probably going to one-time that, so I was just trying to get back door and hopefully it popped out,” Barrie said. “I was lucky it did.”

The tally was Barrie’s second of his career. He scored his first career goal against the Predators in the teams’ first meeting on Feb. 18.

He becomes the first Colorado D-man to score an overtime goal since Kyle Quincey did it on Nov. 10, 2011 versus the New York Islanders.

PAP On Tap

PA Parenteau also picked up an assist on Barrie’s winning-tally and extends his point streak to five games (2g/5a).

He finished the month of March with a team-high 18 points (6g/12a) in 15 games, setting a new career high for points in a single month. He is the first Colorado player to record 18 or more points in March since Paul Stastny (20) and Chris Stewart (19) did it in March of 2010.

Parenteau leads the Avalanche in all three scoring categories: goals (14), assists (21) and points (35).

PK Success

The Avalanche went 6-for-6 on the penalty kill against the Predators. It matched their best output of the season as they had gone 6-for-6 three times previously.

Colorado was put into a couple tricky situations in the game with them having to kill a Nashville 5-on-3 power play in the first period and a four-minute high sticking penalty in the second period.

The Avs’ strong play on special teams is nothing new as of late as they have allowed just five power-play goals in the last 12 games, killing 35-of-40 short-handed situations (87.5%).

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