The Colorado Avalanche busted some serious butt to get themselves into the Stanley Cup playoffs this season. They largely rode high scoring forwards like Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen to their playoff berth.
In goal for a majority of the season was Semyon Varlamov. He was sidelined last season due to injury, and he’s currently out for the playoffs with a super specific “lower body injury.” Our friends at Mile High Hockey assess the loss of Varlamov here.
Varlamov had a pretty solid season. He played in 51 games and had a .920 save percentage.
That leaves Jonathan Bernier and Andrew Hammond in net for the Avalanche. Here’s an overview of Colorado’s goaltender use this season:
We saw Jonathan Bernier in the post-season just last May. He wore an Anaheim Ducks jersey and was in net for the Western Conference Final in Nashville last May. Bernier replaced the injured John Gibson and allowed three goals on net in Game 6 before being pulled for an extra attacker. The 29-year-old Bernier was acquired by Colorado in the offseason, and he’s played second fiddle to Varlamov this season.
Nashville did not face Bernier in any of their four games against Colorado this season.
Bernier was pulled several times this season in favor of Varlamov. However, Bernier played a solid stretch of games early in 2018 where he was practically unbeatable.
Bernier was in net for Colorado’s huge victory over St. Louis to send the Avs to the playoffs. Here’s some game video of his saves from that game:
This season, Bernier has played in 37 games. He has a .913 save percentage, and he allows roughly 2.85 goals per game.
The former 11th overall pick has played for Toronto, Anaheim, and Colorado.
Andrew Hammond was acquired this season in the Matt Duchene trade. He’s played one game for the Avalanche, allowing two goals for a .939 save percentage. He started as many as 24 games for Ottawa a few seasons ago, but he floated in between Ottawa and their AHL club, Belleville, for most of last season. Ottawa acquired Mike Condon about a month into the 2016-2017 season to back up Craig Anderson, and Hammond was the starter for Belleville. He’s a reliable enough backup for Bernier.
Here’s some video of Hammond in Colorado’s loss to Philadelphia a couple of weeks ago:
Hammond earned the nickname “The Hamburgular” when he was a rookie with Ottawa. Both Craig Anderson and Robin Lehner were out with injuries, and Hammond played some huge games for Ottawa in the 2015-2016 season as a rookie.
Hammond is 30 years old.
Matching up Against Nashville
It’s unfortunate that Varlamov is out for the remainder of the season. He played big games to keep Colorado in the hunt this season.
Colorado’s playoff hopes lie on Bernier and their quick, skilled forwards.
Andrew Hammond has played fewer NHL games than Juuse Saros this season.
As well all know, Pekka Rinne has been beyond excellent this season. He faced Colorado in three of the four regular season games. Not much more can be said about Rinne that hasn’t already been said. He’s an obvious choice for the Vezina Trophy this season, and this match-up obviously favors Nashville.