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Avs lose Johnson, ride Varlamov’s brilliance vs. Chicago

Jan 14, 2014, 10:57 PM EST

varlaglovegetty Getty Images

In some ways, the big picture only got muddier for the Colorado Avalanche, as key defenseman Erik Johnson left Tuesday’s game with a back injury (according to the Denver Post’s Adrian Dater). Still, it all probably feels a little better when you steal a 3-2 OT win against the Chicago Blackhawks, which they did tonight.

As CSNChicago.com’s Tracey Myers points out, the Avalanche already came into today’s contest at a disadvantage, as Paul Stastny‘s injury forced them to enter the game with only 17 skaters. Johnson’s injury bumped that number down to 16, but luckily they had Semyon Varlamov propping them all up in net, as he was often sensational in stopping 46 out of 48 shots.

NHL.com reports that Johnson is considered day-to-day.

The Avalanche subsisted on Varlamov’s outstanding play a strong night for Tyson Barrie, who scored the night’s first and clinching goals. Two of Colorado’s three tallies came on the power play, so you could probably put a check mark in the “finding ways to win” box.

Varlamov’s best moment likely came on this beautiful glove save on Patrick Kane:

Dater rightly notes that the injuries pile up as Johnson, Stastny and J.S. Giguere have had recent flare-ups, so they’ll need people like Varlamov – but probably not Varlamov alone – to keep things together.

It won’t get much easier, either, as they’ll face four of their next six and eight of their next 12 contests on the road.

  1. blackhawks2010 - Jan 15, 2014 at 12:15 AM

    Dominating loss about sums this one up. Need to close these games out Hawks. Can’t let these games slip by without picking up both points.

    Bickell is clearly in Q’s doghouse, played less than 7 minutes, needs to step it up or scratch time.

    • joey4id - Jan 15, 2014 at 7:56 AM

      4-1-5 in the last 10 for the hawks…… Their game vs Mtl this past weekend was very ordinary. Wasn’t a terrible game defensively, but they did give up a lot of shots. Many were from outside the perimeter. Offensively they only had 20 shots, too many giveaways, and not many hits. I’m sure coach Q will get them back on track.

      • slysipops - Jan 15, 2014 at 10:44 AM

        hopefully……………

  2. slysipops - Jan 15, 2014 at 10:42 AM

    on this site and the BLACHAWKS site the game was said to be STOLEN by the AVS . BULL! they wanted it more and deserved it more. VARLAMOV and the post kept pucks out …or the HAWKS missed too many shots and CRAWFORD missed one or two that cost us. in his defense there have been way too many opponents allowed to roam freely in front of his net! and please CHICAGO media ….enough of excuses about why the team is being outhit game after game…if the truth hurts..so be it ! they need to play with more grit AND stop the whining about penalties called against or non calls ..just tough it up and play the game! hopefully the lousy habits will be corrected SOON !

    • joey4id - Jan 15, 2014 at 11:06 AM

      You know! I still think the Hawks deserve a lot of credit. Not many teams come back as strong as they have the year following a cup win. Those summers following the SC win are short and hectic. They have ~10 players going to Sochi, but the rest of the team will certainly benefit from the rest. I love to watch this team play when they are at their best so I’m looking forward to seeing the real Hawks sometime soon.

      • slysipops - Jan 15, 2014 at 7:24 PM

        RIGHT ON GUY ! hopefully they will get back to playing like they can !

    • gret9 - Jan 15, 2014 at 1:47 PM

      Chicago doesn’t outhit many opponents, that’s not their game, they aren’t the Kings. They didn’t outhit many last year either and I didn’t hear you b!tching when they ended up as SC Champs.

      Did you even watch the game? Chicago dominated the last two periods both in shots and quality scoring chances but Varlamov stood on his head. That’s not knocking the Avs, they won the game and deserved to based on their goalies’ play. But to deny that the Blackhawks had a clear edge in play the last 2 periods is just incorrect imho.

      Yes, the play in the defensive zone hasn’t been as consistently sharp as it was last year and agree they must tighten that up going forward if they wish to successfully defend their Championship.

      • comeonnowguys - Jan 16, 2014 at 9:35 AM

        If you’re outhitting the other team, you don’t have the puck. It’s one of the most misread stats in sports.

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