DENVER • 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.
Varlamov also got an assist from the Avalanche’s penalty-killing unit, which shut down all six power plays by the Blue Jackets.
The shutout was his first at home for the Avalanche after compiling four in his first season with Colorado last year.
Duchene scored on a breakaway at 18:42 of the third. He also set up the Avalanche’s opening score 51 seconds into the game with a cross-ice to P.A. Parenteau, who wristed a shot from the left circle past goalie Sergei Bobrovsky.
It was the second goal in two games for Parenteau, who joined the Avalanche in the offseason as a free agent after playing for the New York Islanders last season.
Later in the first, Duchene scored his first goal of the season to put the Avalanche up 2-0. He put in a rebound after Bobrovsky blocked a shot by Hejduk but could not control the loose puck.
“Getting a couple of goals, you put them in a hole right away,” Duchene said.
Unsigned free agent Ryan O’Reilly no longer has a contract with his Russian team, Metallurg, and was coming to America to seek medical attention for a “minor injury”, reportedly a foot problem, the Denver Post said.