Semyon Varlamov didn’t have much time to get a feel for Colorado’s Sunday contest with Tampa Bay. Less than two minutes in, Varlamov was forced to make a remarkable split-legged toe save on Alex Killorn off a Ryan Callahan rebound.
There are moments when NHL goaltenders seem to defy all laws regarding human flexibility and make stops that would make Stretch Armstrong fear a pulled groin. Semyon Varlamov had one of those moments last night.
With Sunday’s contest between Colorado and Tampa Bay not even two minutes old, an Avalanche turnover just inside the Lightning zone sprung Ryan Callahan and Steven Stamkos on a two-on-one. Callahan elected to shoot, but Varlamov made the stop. However, the puck careened on to the stick of Alex Killorn who thought he had the entire net to shoot at. Varlamov had other ideas.
The consecutive stops by Varlamov were his first and second saves of the outing. Talk about having to get your head into the game quickly.
Tampa Bay bombarded Varlamov throughout the night with 32 shots, 28 of which the Avalanche netminder turned aside. Colorado mustered only 18 shots of their own, but came away with the win thanks to a Nathan MacKinnon hat trick, the first of his career.