Varlamov, Landeskog lift Avs past Coyotes 4-2
DENVER (AP) Semyon Varlamov showed there were no lingering effects from a disappointing finish at the Winter Olympics.
Varlamov stopped 40 shots in his first game after playing for Russia in the Sochi Olympics, including 18 in the third period, and the Colorado Avalanche beat the Phoenix Coyotes 4-2 on Friday night.
Varlamov won his first two starts in the Olympics, but was pulled in the second period of a 3-1 loss to Finland after allowing three goals on 15 shots.
Any hangover from that disappointment was quickly dispelled with his performance Friday.
”I wasn’t concerned about it,” Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said. ”When I saw Varly after the Olympics, I saw a big smile on his face. I knew he was ready to bounce back. The key was giving him the night off against L.A., give him the time to feel really comfortable.”
Varlamov said the extra time off helped.
”Yeah, I think those days helped me,” he said. ”I was tired emotionally and it gave me some rest. I got back into a normal routine, trained with my goalie coach.”
Gabriel Landeskog had a goal and two assists and Paul Stastny had a goal and an assist for the Avalanche. Nate Guenin also scored for Colorado, which bounced back from blowing a two-goal lead in a loss to Los Angeles on Wednesday. Guenin’s goal was his first in nearly two years after spending all of last season in the American Hockey League.
”We wanted this one bad,” Guenin said. ”We felt we let one slip away the other night. We really wanted these two points.”
Shane Doan had two goals and Thomas Greiss had 29 saves for Phoenix, which lost 3-2 in a shootout at Winnipeg on Thursday night, is 0-2-1 in its last three games to hurt its playoff chances in the season’s final six weeks.
”We lost. There isn’t much to feel good about,” Doan said. ”It comes down to the last 20 games. It always does. We have to figure out a way to get more points.”
The Avalanche are comfortably in the playoff picture, but are chasing Chicago and St. Louis in the Central Division. With 22 games remaining, they trailed the Blackhawks by three but they have a game in hand on Chicago, which sits second in the division.
The Coyotes had a chance to pull this one out before Colorado broke it open early in the third.
Guenin’s first goal since March 19, 2012, while playing for Anaheim came when he beat Greiss from the top of the right circle 48 seconds into the third period to give Colorado a 2-1 lead.
”It’s about time. Just good timing there,” Guenin said. ”The puck slipped through and I kind of saw an opening.”
Stastny scored on Nathan MacKinnon’s rebound at 6:12 of the third to make it 3-1.
Doan’s second goal of the game at 13:58 of the third made cut it to one, but Landeskog restored the two-goal advantage with his 19th nearly three minutes later.
”We pushed hard to get ourselves in it, which was a positive sign,” Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said. ”Doan and (Mike) Boedker were pushing hard, but we have to have everybody on the same page. And our margin for error is very slim. Mistakes cost us.”
The teams traded power-play goals in the first period. Doan gave the Coyotes a 1-0 lead with his 16th goal at 12:47, and Parenteau answered 2:51 later with his 12th to tie it.
The teams had several scoring chances in the second period, but each goalie made 10 saves.
NOTES: Colorado has scored five power-play goals in the last two games. … MacKinnon had two assists to extend his point streak to 10 games, the longest active run in the NHL. … Avalanche D Erik Johnson was out of the lineup to serve the second of his two-game suspension for his slash on New York Islanders C Frans Nielsen on Feb. 8. … Coyotes D Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s assist on the first goal gave him a career high for a single season with 22. … Colorado LW Maxime Talbot returned after missing Wednesday’s game to be with his fiancee, who gave birth to the couple’s first child, son Jaxon.