Varlamov stops 37 in return as Avalanche defeat Coyotes

Semyon Varlamov made 37 saves and the Colorado Avalanche defeated the Arizona Coyotes.

DENVER — Semyon Varlamov had 37 saves in his return to the crease, Matt Duchene and Mikhail Grigorenko had a goal and an assist each and the Colorado Avalanche beat the Arizona Coyotes 3-1 on Monday night.

Shawn Matthias also scored for the Avalanche, who are tied with Minnesota for the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference. Both teams have 72 points, but the Wild have played one fewer game.

Boyd Gordon scored and Louis Domingue had 34 saves for Arizona.

Varlamov served as the backup for two games after he struggled in losses to Detroit and Minnesota last week. He was pulled from a 6-3 loss to the Wild after allowing three goals on 12 first-period shots.

Varlamov was much sharper against Arizona. In the first period, he stopped Antoine Vermette on a shot close in, and in the second period he made another save on a breakaway.

The Coyotes have lost nine straight on the road and eight of nine overall to fall out of the Western Conference playoff chase. They are 10 points behind Minnesota and Colorado with a game in hand on the Wild.

Matthias gave Colorado a 1-0 lead at 9:17 of the first when he knocked in Francois Beauchemin‘s rebound.

Duchene made it 2-0 with a power-play goal at 5:40 of the second period. It was his career-high 28th goal.

Grigorenko gave Colorado a 3-0 lead with a backhander at 5:37 of the third period. Gordon, who was playing his second game after missing 13 with an injury, spoiled the shutout with his first goal of the season at 8:47 to make it 3-1.

Domingue came off for an extra skater with 2:03 remaining and the Coyotes went on the power play with 1:34 left but couldn’t score.

It was Colorado’s 19th straight penalty kill.

NOTES: Coyotes C Kyle Chipchura went home to be with his wife, who is due to give birth. … Avalanche D Eric Gelinas returned to the lineup after missing two games with a back injury. … Arizona LW Max Domi returned after serving a one-game suspension for instigating a fight in the final 5 minutes against Anaheim on Thursday.

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