With his legal issue resolved, Semyon Varlamov can again man the net for the Colorado Avalanche.
Whether he'll get the chance to continue the Avs' – and his own – dominance of the visiting Dallas Stars on Thursday night remains to be seen.
Varlamov posted an 0.99 goals-against average and a .972 save percentage during a winning streak that reached four games after matching a season high with 42 saves in a 3-1 victory at Dallas on Jan. 23. However, the trial for a civil lawsuit filed against him by a former girlfriend from a 2013 domestic incident has kept Varlamov out of action since.
On Tuesday, a jury ruled in Varlamov's favor and awarded him approximately $126,000 in damages.
''It's over,'' Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic said. ''He's relieved and excited to play hockey again.''
Varlamov was scratched Tuesday as Calvin Pickard was given a third straight start, making a season-high 40 saves in a 2-1 home loss to Chicago. Coach Patrick Roy has not officially named Varlamov the starter for this contest.
“(Wednesday) he'll come and practice and we'll go from there,” Roy said.
If ready, Varlamov would seem the logical choice to start considering he has a 2.26 GAA and a .935 save percentage during his 10-game winning streak against the Stars.
The Avalanche (27-23-3) have won eight straight and 11 of 12 over Dallas, and they've averaged 4.6 goals during a seven-game series winning streak at the Pepsi Center. Varlamov made 30 saves in a 6-3 home win over Dallas on Oct. 10.
Gabriel Landeskog, who recorded his fourth goal in as many contests Tuesday, has six goals and eight assists during an eight-game point streak against the Stars. He has five points in the two matchups this season.
Though Dallas (32-14-5) has obviously struggled with the Avs, it enters this meeting feeling good about its current state.
The Stars entered the All-Star break off a 2-1 win over Calgary on Jan. 25, but that performance capped a 3-6-2 month in which they averaged 2.2 goals and fell from the top spot in the Western Conference. They opened February on a positive note by ending an 0-5-3 road slide with Tuesday's 5-3 victory at Winnipeg.
“This is huge. We get the first one, and now we move onto the next one,” coach Lindy Ruff told the Stars' official website. “Coming out of the break you don't know what to expect, and we got a pretty good effort out of our guys … It's real important.”
February might also provide a rebirth for Tyler Seguin, who scored twice after recording two goals and one assist in January.
“For me, mentally, I put January behind me during my time in Nashville (at the All-Star Game),” said Seguin, third in the league with 55 points.
''Personally, I thought it was probably one of my worst months as a pro player. Our team wasn't playing well, either, so I think we all came out of this break a little bit refreshed and getting back to the basics.''
Teammate Antti Niemi snapped a personal five-game road skid with 21 saves Tuesday, but he has a 3.96 GAA in his last four away from home. He's allowed all nine goals to Colorado this season.