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Varlamov starts for Avalanche; Talbot debuts

by Steve Hunt

DALLAS -- Two days after Semyon Varlamov was arrested on domestic-violence charges in Denver, he started in goal for the Colorado Avalanche on Friday against the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center.

"I just feel it's the right decision," Colorado coach Patrick Roy said after the morning skate. "Why wait? [Varlamov] looks good this morning. We're all aware what happened and we just feel that he's our guy. We have a lot of confidence in him as a goalie. We feel that it's good for him to play [Friday]."

Varlamov appeared in a Denver court Thursday facing charges of second-degree kidnapping and third-degree assault stemming from his arrest Wednesday. He spent Wednesday night in jail but was released after his court appearance Thursday, posting a $5,000 bond. He was told he could travel with the team and was given a restraining order to stay away from his girlfriend.

Varlamov, who did not address the media after morning skate, is 7-1-0 this season with a 1.76 goals-against average and .945 save percentage for the Avalanche, who are 10-1-0.

Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog said he and his teammates supported Varlamov.

"He's a teammate, and just like any teammate we support all our teammates," he said. "It doesn't matter what they go through."

As far as how the Avalanche approached their second meeting of the season with the Stars, Roy said the mentality wouldn't change one bit.

"We've been taking it since the start of the year one day at a time," he said. "That's exactly what we're going to do [Friday]," Roy said. "We're playing against a team that's very tough to beat at home. They're playing really well. I think highly of these guys. They're well-coached."

The game is the Colorado debut of Maxime Talbot, who was acquired in a trade with the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday for Steve Downie. Talbot, a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins' Stanley Cup-winning team in 2009, brings playoff experience to the Avalanche and is someone who fills a need on the penalty kill.

"He's going to bring a lot," Roy said of Talbot. "First of all he's a player that has won a Stanley Cup. Secondly he's been performing well also in playoffs. Our last few games we just felt we were short in personnel, short on penalty killing and I think he's going to be a big help in that area."

Talbot, who likely will skate on Colorado's third line alongside John Mitchell and Nathan MacKinnon, said he's excited to be coming to a club that is among the best in the NHL through the first month.

"They're doing well right now," Talbot said. "I'll do anything I can to help this team keep on winning and keep on doing the right things. I'm real excited to join a young team that'll be good for a couple years and that's doing well right now."

Roy said he feels MacKinnon especially should benefit from skating alongside a veteran of Talbot's caliber and successful track record.

"I'm sure he'll be an important player for Nathan as well," Roy said. "[Talbot] has won, he has experience and I think he will help Nate to grow."

Kari Lehtonen started his fifth straight game in goal for Dallas, who made one minor change to its third line with Shawn Horcoff moving from the center to right wing and Rich Peverley shifting to the middle from the right side.

Here are the projected lineups for Colorado and Dallas:


Gabriel Landeskog - Paul Stastny - Alex Tanguay

Ryan O'Reilly - Matt Duchene - PA Parenteau

John Mitchell - Nathan MacKinnon - Maxime Talbot

Nick Holden - Marc-Andre Cliche - Patrick Bordeleau

Erik Johnson - Jan Hejda

Ryan Wilson - Nate Guenin

Andre Benoit - Cory Sarich

Semyon Varlamov

Jean-Sebastien Giguere

Scratched: Tyson Barrie

Suspended: Cody McLeod

Injured: Jamie McGinn (knee)


Jamie Benn - Tyler Seguin - Erik Cole

Ray Whitney - Cody Eakin - Alex Chiasson

Valeri Nichushkin - Rich Peverley - Shawn Horcoff

Lane MacDermid - Vernon Fiddler - Antoine Roussel

Brenden Dillon - Stephane Robidas

Trevor Daley - Sergei Gonchar

Alex Goligoski - Jordie Benn

Kari Lehtonen

Dan Ellis

Scratched: Kevin Connauton

Suspended: Ryan Garbutt

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