WHERE/WHEN

Saturday, December 19, 2015 / Game 34

Pepsi Center / Denver, Colorado

HIGHLIGHTS

GAME RUNDOWN

Colorado got off to a very quick start in this game, when Blake Comeau scored a short-handed breakaway goal just 1:12 into the first period. Comeau’s fifth of the season gave the Avalanche a 1-0 lead. Later, Tyson Barrie scored his fourth goal of the season on the power play at 16:49 of the first period, giving the home team a 2-0 lead heading into the dressing room.

In the second period, the Avalanche added one goal by Nick Holden from a point shot off the face-off — his third goal of the season, assisted by John Mitchell who won the offensive zone face-off. This would give the Avs a 3-0 lead going into the third period.

All night long, the Avalanche took it to the Oilers with their speed, but at the same time played very smart defensive hockey in front of their number one netminder. Semyon Varlamov was spectacular once again in this game, stopping 39-of-40 shots on goal he faced to pick up his sixth straight victory. Over his current six game streak, he has allowed only six goals, and has stopped 196 of the 202 shots he has faced — that is an amazing .970 save-percentage.

The Oilers would finally get one past Varlamov when Andrej Sekera scored his fourth goal of the season just 2:58 into the third period to make it a 3-1 game. Colorado was pushed around a bit by the top Edmonton lines early on in the period, but the momentum changed when Jarome Iginla saw himself alone with the puck right in front of the Oilers’ net. Iginla buried the goal between Edmonton goaltender Anders Nilsson‘s legs for his ninth of the season and 598th goal of his NHL career.

Jack Skille was rewarded again for his constant hard work when he netted his fourth goal of the season at 16:31 of the third period to cap off the night for the Avalanche, as they went on to beat the Oilers by a score of 5-1.

THREE STARS

  1. Semyon Varlamov (39 saves, win)
  2. Tyson Barrie (power play goal, assist, 2 shots, +3)
  3. Blake Comeau (short-handed goal, 1 shot, 2 hits)

PLAY OF THE GAME

Blake Comeau’s short handed goal quickly gave the Avalanche all the momentum they needed to get by Edmonton:

TURNING POINT

This save by Varlamov at the end of the second period that robbed Taylor Hall of a goal was when you could tell it was the Avs night:

BY THE NUMBERS

Unknown

Unknown-1

QUOTE OF THE GAME

“If someone had said to me that at this point we’d be one game above .500… It’s not that I wouldn’t believe it, but at the same time, we had a tough schedule — our players deserve a lot of credit for it, and it’s nice to see them be rewarded for it… They work hard, they believe in themselves, and I am very proud of our players.”

-Head coach Patrick Roy

LASTING IMPACT

The Avs fifth straight victory gives them a record of 17-16-1 on the season — finally above .500!

Their 35 points is still three points out of a playoff spot, as the Predators also won on this night, but what is important is that they kept pace with the rest of the division and wild card teams that also won. It’s early to worry much about the playoff positioning at this point, but the Avalanche are certainly on a roll right now and they are doing a nice job of taking it one game at a time to climb back into the race.

WHAT’S NEXT

Colorado will go for a sixth straight victory heading into the holiday break when they host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday, December 21st at Pepsi Center — puck drops at 7:00 pm MT.

Nick Bracken

Covers DU Hockey, Colorado Avalanche and Colorado Rapids for BSNDenver. Nick can be followed @nickbracken303 on Twitter. He enjoys watching any live sports on TV and playing hockey and golf in his free-time. Chris Drury is his all-time favorite athlete.