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Behind Bernier’s 38 saves, Avs win 9th straight on home ice

AP Photo/David Zalubowski

Colorado extended its home winning streak to nine games on Tuesday night, as they defeated the San Jose Sharks by a score of 3-1. The Avs were led by goaltender Jonathan Bernier who stopped 38 of the 39 shots he faced for his 16th win of the season.

After a scoreless first period in which the Avs only registered three shots on goal, Colorado got off to a quick jump in the second period when Gabriel Bourque scored his third goal of the season to put Colorado up 1-0. J.T. Compher and Tyson Jost picked up the assists on the goal, and then minutes later Jost tallied a goal of his own, sniping San Jose goaltender Martin Jones on the blocker side for his fourth goal of the year. Later in the period, the Sharks would get one back when Joel Ward hammered a quick shot past Bernier. The Avs took a 2-1 lead into the second intermission.

The third period was another well-played one defensively by both teams, as no one scored until J.T. Compher netted a long-range empty netter to seal the deal with four seconds left. The goal was Compher’s 11th of the season.

But one again, this was the Jonathan Bernie show all night long, as he consistently shut down the Sharks when they had chance after chance, and especially stepped up big time late in the third period. He was deservingly named as the 1st star of the game.

Bernier has been outstanding in his first season here in Colorado, holding a 16-9-2 record to this point with a .919 save percentage and 2.62 goals-against average. He had been tasked to handle the load as the Avs’ number one netminder over the past month or so while Semyon Varlamov dealt with a lower-body injury, and he helped them on their amazing 10-game win streak in January. The Avs definitely have a solid tandem in goal going towards the stretch run now that Varly is healthy again – however, Bernier’s play this year certainly will give the front office a decision to make on Varlamov’s status in the offseason. For the time being though, the Avalanche will gladly take having two elite goaltenders as they attempt a run at a playoff spot.

Colorado will take the show on the road once again as they go into St Louis to face the Blues on Thursday night. Puck drops at 6:00 PM MT at Scottstrade Arena. After the three-game road trip, the Avs will be back at home to face the Montreal Canadiens next Wednesday night.

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