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Duchene leads Avalanche over Blue Jackets 4-0

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 24, 2013 at 11:49 pm •  Published: January 24, 2013

DENVER (AP) — Matt Duchene's offense helped put the Columbus Blue Jackets in a hole. Semyon Varlamov's goaltending kept them from climbing out.

Duchene scored two goals and set up another, Varlamov made 33 saves and the Colorado Avalanche beat Columbus 4-0 on Thursday night.

"He was at his best tonight," Duchene said of Varlamov. "He was our best player. He's just solid. He gives us confidence. That was an outstanding effort by him."

Varlamov preserved his ninth career shutout and first of the season when he made a sprawling save on Nick Foligno's shot late in the second period. He followed that early in the third with a stop of Ryan Johansen's shot from in close by using his chest.

"You've got to give him credit," Johansen said. "He was sturdy and strong back there. It's frustrating for our guys to not be able get one past him."

Varlamov also got an assist from the Avalanche's penalty-killing unit, which shut down all six power plays by the Blue Jackets.

Since allowing two power-play goals in a season-opening loss at Minnesota last Saturday, the Avalanche have killed 16 consecutive power-play opportunities by the opposition.

"The guys did a great job for me," Varlamov said. "They blocked a lot of shots, so I can say thanks."

The shutout was his first at home for the Avalanche after compiling four in his first season with Colorado last year.

"It's huge for me and it's huge for the team," Varlamov said.

Playing their first game since learning they had lost Steve Downie to a season-ending knee injury in Tuesday's win over the Los Angeles Kings, the Avalanche got another scare when John Mitchell took a puck off his face in the first period and left the ice holding a towel to his bleeding nose.

Mitchell was tended to by medical staff, returned to the game in the second period with a gauze wrap stuffed up a nostril and scored his second goal of the season off a feed from Milan Hejduk at 4:38 of the third.

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