Varlamov stops 39 shots, Avalanche beat Oilers 5-1
DENVER (AP) It's been nearly two seasons since Semyon Varlamov and the Colorado Avalanche have rolled like this.
Varlamov made 39 saves, Jarome Iginla scored his 598th career goal and the Avalanche beat the Edmonton Oilers 5-1 on Saturday night for their fifth consecutive win.
Varlamov tied his career high with his sixth victory in a row and improved to 7-1 in December.
After a slow start to the season, the goalie is playing like he did when he led the Avalanche to 52 wins and 112 points in 2013-14.
''We're feeding off of him,'' Colorado coach Patrick Roy said.
Tyson Barrie had a goal and an assist, and Blake Comeau and Nick Holden also scored for the Avalanche. Colorado moved to 17-16-1 and is above .500 for the first time this season.
It is the longest winning streak for the Avalanche since they won six straight from March 25 to April 5, 2014. Varlamov was in net for all of those wins.
He has stopped 177 of 183 shots in the last five games and has a 1.12 goals-against average in eight starts in December
''It doesn't matter how many shots, my job is stopping the puck,'' Varlamov said. ''Doesn't matter 15 or 40, I try to stop all of them.''
Andrej Sekera scored for the Oilers, who have lost three in a row following a six-game winning streak.
''Varlamov at the other end played well all night,'' Edmonton coach Todd McLellan said. ''He was there the whole night, right to the bitter end, and he made some tremendous saves.''
Comeau gave Colorado a 1-0 lead with a short-handed goal 1:12 into the game. Edmonton defenseman Justin Schultz failed to keep the puck in the Avalanche zone and Comeau beat Anders Nilsson for his fifth of the season.
The Oilers kept the pressure on through most of the first period but didn't score against Varlamov. Barrie then made it 2-0 with a power-play goal at 16:49. It was his third of the season.
After Holden's goal in the second period made it a three-goal game, Sekera cut the lead to 3-1 just 2:58 into the third. Iginla restored the three-goal lead with his ninth of the season at 7:05. Iginla is two goals shy of becoming the 19th player in NHL history with 600.
''I was alone in front and I almost had too much time to think about it,'' Iginla said. ''I tried to hesitate for a quick 5-hole and it went in. The first couple periods you try not to get frustrated and to stay with it. It was good to see one finally go in.''
Jack Skille made it 5-1 with his fourth goal at 16:31.
The Oilers couldn't get a puck by Varlamov in the first two periods and gave the goalie his due. Taylor Hall was frustrated after Varlamov made a right pad save on him in the waning moments of the second period but tapped the goalie on his equipment as he skated to the locker room.
''It seemed like every time we did a shot to the lower half of the net there weren't too many second chance opportunities and their D did a good job in front,'' Hall said.
NOTES: Nilsson finished with 24 saves. ... Oilers D Brandon Davidson was helped off the ice after suffering a rib injury at 6:23 of the third period. ... Comeau's goal was Colorado's third short-handed goal of the season. ... Edmonton LW Benoit Pouliot returned to the lineup after missing eight games with a hip injury.