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Varlamov, Avs blank Blue Jackets

Feb 25, 2012 - 7:09 AM
Columbus, OH (Sports Network) - David Jones backed Semyon Varlamov's third shutout of the season with a pair of goals and an assist, as the Colorado Avalanche cruised to a 5-0 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday.

Varlamov stopped 28 shots for his seventh career shutout. Steve Downie and Gabriel Landeskog added a goal and an assist while Matt Hunwick also found the back of the net for the Avalanche, who have won two in a row and three of four.

The Blue Jackets, who got 20 saves from Steve Mason, have dropped three of their last four.

Late in the first, Colton Gillies nearly gave the Blue Jackets the lead with a high slap shot. Instead, the puck hit the crossbar and Jones scooped up the hard carom. He then went the length of the ice and beat Mason low stick side for a 1-0 advantage with just 26 seconds left in the period.

"The play at the end of the first period ended up, to me, being a big play of the game," said Blue Jackets interim coach Todd Richards. "We were a little deflated after the first and I don't think we ever got the game back."

It was 2-0 at the 11:56 mark of the second when Downie sent a cross-ice pass to Landeskog, who fired a high slap shot past Mason from the right circle.

Mark Olver helped the Avalanche to a 3-0 lead less than two minutes into the third. He moved from left to right behind the net and found Jones between the circles in front. The forward whiffed on his first attempt but had time to regroup and send the puck home.

Downie added to the advantage at the 6:55 mark with a rebound tally and Hunwick scored on a breakaway at 13:19 to cap the scoring.

The Blue Jackets were coming off Tuesday's 6-3 win over San Jose, but were without the catalyst of that victory on Friday. Jeff Carter had a hat trick against the Sharks before being shipped to Los Angeles on Thursday.

Varlamov easily stifled the Columbus attack, stopping nine shots in the first, eight in the second and 11 in the third.

"I thought after the first period we started playing much better as a team," Avalanche head coach Joe Sacco said. "We got better as the game went on. I don't know if there was one thing that turned it around, but I think getting that first goal was real important for us."

Game Notes

The Avalanche have won both meetings between the teams this season...Landeskog has three goals and two assists in his last four games...Carter was traded for defenseman Jack Johnson and a first-round draft pick. The Blue Jackets also traded center Antoine Vermette on Wednesday.