Apr 17, 2014, 3:12 PM EDT
Of all the goalies in the NHL — and there were 97 that saw action this season — not one of them made more saves than Colorado’s Semyon Varlamov.
In total, the 25-year-old Russian stopped 1,867 shots, which was 132 more than the Stars’ Kari Lehtonen, who finished second in the category.
With all due respect to the Avs’ dynamic group of young forwards, goaltending was the biggest reason Colorado finished first in the Central Division. And beating Varlamov will be the biggest challenge for the Wild starting tonight at the Pepsi Center.
“We’ve done a scouting report. We’ve watched a lot of video. This is a great goalie,” said Minnesota coach Mike Yeo, per the StarTribune. “He’s very athletic, great side-to-side.”
Varlamov went 3-0-1 versus the Wild during the regular season, stopping 117 of 126 shots for a .929 save percentage. According to Yeo, time will be of the essence for Minnesota’s shooters.
“The one thing I believe with any great goalie is the quicker you shoot the puck, the better off you are,” he said. “He does a very good job of coming out and closing angles and making himself big in the net. The quicker you get the puck off your stick, the more net there is to shoot.
“We have to have a strong focus of making sure we’re putting a lot of traffic in front of him, making it difficult for him to come out and be aggressive on those shots.”
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