The Colorado Avalanche find themselves at the bottom of the Western Conference standings, as very few things can go right for them. In losing five of their last six games, starting goaltender Semyon Varlamov has struggled in a big way, while J.S. Giguere has performed better in limited action. He may only have one point to show for his last four appearances, but he has maintained a 3.16 goals-against average and a .903 save percentage along with a 2-1-1 record. Varlamov is 9-14-3with a 3.04 goals-against average, but has only won three games this month.
While it wouldn’t be impossible for the Avalanche to make the playoffs this season, things aren’t looking good. At this point, they have little to lose and everything to gain by putting Giguere in net. With head coach Joe Sacco possibly putting his own job on the line, he needs to be absolutely sure in his belief that Varlamov somehow gives the team its best chance to win. Giguere won 15 games in 32 appearances for the Avalanche last season, while Varlamov won 26 games in 53 appearances. There really isn’t much difference in the two goaltenders’ stats on paper, but Giguere seems to be playing with more confidence when he gets the chance to this season.
Colorado will face the Vancouver Canucks on Monday and Friday this week, with a very important game against the Calgary Flames sandwiched in between. The Flames sit directly above the Avalanche in the standings, and the game has the potential to move Colorado out of the basement. It also provides a chance for Varlamov to have the night off, and see if Giguere can guide the team to a win.