Semyon Varlamov makes 50 saves and still takes a loss

By Adam Gretz | Hockey writer
Semyon Varlamov made 50 saves for Colorado on Saturday. And took the loss. (Getty Images)

The Edmonton Oilers set a franchise record with 56 shots on goal during the 6-4 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday night, erasing a three-goal deficit and proving once again why they are one of the most entertaining teams in the NHL.

But the most fascinating story was the performance of Colorado goalie Semyon Varlamov

While it's hard to say a goalie who gives up five goals in a game (Edmonton's sixth goal was an empty net goal) played well, it's equally hard to put much of the blame for this one on Varlamov.

Had it not been for him they probably would have lost by even more. Varlamov was under pressure all night long by a relentless Edmonton attack and made 50 saves in the loss.

Fifty. Saves. And he lost!

That actually puts him in some pretty rare company.

Since 1987-88 it's just the 77th time a goalie has made 50 or more saves in a regular-season game, but Varlamov is just the eighth goalie to do so and actually lose the game in regulation (via hockey-reference.com). The other seven were Darren Pang, Frank Pietrangelo, John Vanbiesbrouck, Nikolai Khabibulin, Mike Dunham, Roberto Luongo, and Carey Price.

Nine other goalies made 50 or more saves and lost games in overtime or a shootout.

Not only did the Oilers put 56 shots on net, they attempted 85 shots to Colorado's 53 (only 29 on goal) in what was a rather dominant performance. Really, the only reason Colorado even had a chance in this game was the combination of Varlamov playing out of his mind and the fact that Edmonton's starter, Devan Dubnyk, was lifted after surrendering three first period goals on 12 shots.

Varlamov simply had little help from his teammates and was stuck facing shots like this beauty of a goal from Ales Hemsky as he completely undressed Shane O'Brien:

It was that kind of night for the Avalanche.

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