The Colorado Avalanche hobbled into Chicago for their contest against the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks Tuesday with names being added to their list of injured players seemingly growing by the day. Ever resilient, they still managed to leave the Windy City with two points.
Tyson Barrie (returning from a shoulder injury) stepped into the lineup and immediately made an impact; scoring the overtime winner (his second goal of the game)off of a slick pass from the sideboards by forward Matt Duchene with 50.7 seconds left in the extra period.
Barrie now has six points in his last five games; responding well to a two-week banishment to the AHL in November. The 22-year-old defenseman now has two overtime goals on the season.
For a slumping Duchene, the assist provided some reason for cheer in a game filled with near misses. Duchene hit two posts in the contest; and has now gone 12 games without a goal.
The true star of the night however, was goaltender Semyon Varlamov. The 25-year-old netminder finished the contest with a season-high 46 saves.
“We rallied around Varly tonight,” said coach Patrick Roy. “Against a team like this it’s a matter of finding a way to win a hockey game, and that’s what we did.”
The team did not come away unscathed however; losing another key component in defenseman Erik Johnson. Johnson left the game in the second period with a back injury and did not return.
The Avalanche finished the game with only 16 skaters; as Cory Sarich was a late scratch from the contest with a back injury of his own. Despite some hope he would return, Paul Stastny also missed the contest; and is considered day-to-day with a leg injury.
The Avalanche are also without P.A. Parenteau (knee), Alex Tanguay (hip), David van der Gulik (head), Nate Guenin (foot) and J.S. Giguere (back); although they did benefit from the return of Barrie and Nick Holden (personal reasons) in this contest.
The Avalanche return home Thursday to face the New Jersey Devils.