DENVER (AP) — Semyon Varlamov showed there were no lingering effects from a disappointing finish at the Winter Olympics.
Varlamov stopped 40 shots in his first game after playing for Russia in the Sochi Olympics, including 18 in the third period, and the Colorado Avalanche beat the Phoenix Coyotes 4-2 on Friday night.
Varlamov won his first two starts in the Olympics, but was pulled in the second period of a 3-1 loss to Finland after allowing three goals on 15 shots.
Any hangover from that disappointment was quickly dispelled with his performance Friday.
"I wasn't concerned about it," Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said. "When I saw Varly after the Olympics, I saw a big smile on his face. I knew he was ready to bounce back. The key was giving him the night off against L.A., give him the time to feel really comfortable."
Varlamov said the extra time off helped.
"Yeah, I think those days helped me," he said. "I was tired emotionally and it gave me some rest. I got back into a normal routine, trained with my goalie coach."
Gabriel Landeskog had a goal and two assists and Paul Stastny had a goal and an assist for the Avalanche. Nate Guenin also scored for Colorado, which bounced back from blowing a two-goal lead in a loss to Los Angeles on Wednesday. Guenin's goal was his first in nearly two years after spending all of last season in the American Hockey League.
"We wanted this one bad," Guenin said. "We felt we let one slip away the other night. We really wanted these two points."
Shane Doan had two goals and Thomas Greiss had 29 saves for Phoenix, which lost 3-2 in a shootout at Winnipeg on Thursday night, is 0-2-1 in its last three games to hurt its playoff chances in the season's final six weeks.
"We lost. There isn't much to feel good about," Doan said. "It comes down to the last 20 games. It always does. We have to figure out a way to get more points."
The Avalanche are comfortably in the playoff picture, but are chasing Chicago and St. Louis in the Central Division. With 22 games remaining, they trailed the Blackhawks by three but they have a game in hand on Chicago, which sits second in the division.