Colorado will remain with Reto Berra in goal after Semyon Varlamov suffered an injury in practice, and that might not be such a bad thing.
While Varlamov struggles, the team's No. 2 will try for a third away shutout Thursday night in Boston with both the Avalanche and Bruins trying to string together wins.
Varlamov hurt his groin in Tuesday's morning skate, so Berra started that night's 4-0 win in Philadelphia after also shutting out Anaheim on Oct. 16. He's 2-3-0 with a 1.50 goals-against average and .952 save percentage in six games – five starts – and also ended last season with a shutout.
Varlamov, meanwhile, is 3-6-1 with 3.26 and .890 marks, so there's not a feeling of disadvantage in front of Berra, and this could be an audition for the starting job.
“It's nice to know if we do have a breakdown that he is back there to stop the puck and get the job done,” Cody McLeod told the team's official website. “We just want to make sure to block as many shots as we can, make it a bit easier on him. It's definitely confidence for the boys knowing that he is there to stop the puck.”
The win ended a two-game slide and provided a reprieve from a rough defensive stretch during which the club went 2-6-0 with 3.12 goals against.
Matt Duchene had two goals and an assist, giving him five goals in his last four games after managing one in his first 11.
Coach Patrick Roy said it was the most complete effort of the season, but Colorado (5-9-1) is still seeking its first set of consecutive wins.
“I thought we dominated from the start to the end,” Roy said. “We managed our game well. Very pleased with our performance.”
Berra also saw the ice the last time out against Boston, but it was because Varlamov gave up five goals in 35 1/2 minutes of a 6-2 final in Colorado on Oct. 14. The sixth came on an empty net, and Berra is 1-2-0 with a 1.51 GAA and .943 save percentage in four games against the Bruins.
Colorado's John Mitchell, who scored in the first meeting as part of a four-game goal streak to open the season, could return after missing four games with an oblique injury.
The Bruins (7-6-1) got back on track with Sunday's 2-1 win at the New York Islanders but haven't played since. That victory followed three straight losses in what's started as a rather streaky season. The Bruins went 6-0-1 prior to that, which came after losing their first three games.
They'd allowed 13 goals over the most recent skid.
“It was important for us to show up (Sunday) and bring out a solid effort,” said Patrice Bergeron, who had a goal and an assist. “We had to bring more composure to our game. I thought we did a good job of that.”
Boston has been limited to five goals in the last three games, but the power play remains consistent with at least a goal in the last seven pacing a league-leading 33.3 percent season mark.
Goaltending hasn't been anywhere near that consistent, though Tuukka Rask made 36 saves against the Islanders after allowing eight goals in his previous two games. Rask's GAA still stands at 3.22 with an .891 save percentage.
“He played really well for us, kept us in the game,” coach Claude Julien said of Rask's latest work. “He made saves for us (Sunday) when we really needed them.”
Rask didn't face the Avalanche last month and is 0-3-1 against them despite a .935 save percentage.
- Boston Bruins
- Cody McLeod
- Colorado Avalanche
- John Mitchell
- Matt Duchene
- Patrice Bergeron
- Reto Berra
- Semyon Varlamov
- Tuukka Rask