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Avalanche ‘block’ out Jets

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WINNIPEG—The Colorado Avalanche were sacrificing their bodies and it paid off last night.

Carl Soderberg scored a goal and added an assist as the Avalanche blocked 21 shots in a 2-1 victory over the Winnipeg Jets.

“We did a great job blocking the shots,” said Colorado goalie Semyon Varlamov, who made 36 saves.

Jarome Iginla scored his 13th goal of the season for the Avs (23-21-3).

It also was his 602nd NHL career goal, moving him ahead of Jari Kurri for sole possession of 18th place all-time.

Joel Armia scored his second career goal for Winnipeg (21-22-3) while Connor Hellebuyck stopped 32 shots.

The Jets only got in front of eight Colorado shots. It made a difference, said Jets’ forward Mathieu Perreault, who assisted on Armia’s goal.

“They did a good job blocking shots,” Perreault noted.

“Sometimes, you’re kind of holding on for a split-second and they get in that lane,” he remarked.

“I think I had a lot of shots blocked tonight so I’ve got to maybe work on that a little bit,” Perreault added.

“Get my shot off a little quicker so they don’t have time to get in the lane.”

Perreault had two of his seven shots blocked.

Jets’ leading scorer Blake Wheeler had 17 shot attempts, with 10 stopped by Varlamov, four blocked, and three misses, including a late one that hit the post.

His 10 shots on goal was a single-game career high.

“When you play against those guys with skills, you’ve got to be on them the whole time,” Varlamov stressed.

“You can’t let them create chances around the net or they’re going to score.”

The Jets, meanwhile, again failed in an attempt to win a third-straight game this season.

“We’re kind of having a little blockage here,” Perreault admitted.

“We’ve just got to find a way to get it done.

“This time of the year, with the standings, where we’re sitting, those are huge points we left on the table,” he noted.

“So we’ve got to bear down here, get going.”

Colorado has beaten the Jets in three of the five games they’ll play this season.

“There’s not one reason I can come up with,” Iginla said of their success.

“Every time we play them, we have a lot of respect for them,” he noted. “It’s a good divisional battle.

“It was a playoff-style game with the implications in the standings,” Iginla added.

“There is still lots of time left but these four-point games are really big.”

Playing the first game in a season-high six-game homestand, the Jets were without injured forwards Adam Lowry, Mark Scheifele, and Drew Stafford.

After a scoreless first period, Colorado didn’t waste time in the second as Soderberg scored his ninth goal of the season at 1:16 off a rebound.

The Avalanche have scored first in 30 games this season.

Colorado boosted its lead to 2-0 on the power play after Wheeler was called for interference.

Soderberg sent a pass from beside the net out to Iginla, whose shot at 19:42 went over Hellebuyck’s blocker when the rookie goalie couldn’t get back over fast enough.

“It’s a set play, for sure,” Soderberg said.

“You have to mix it up a bit sometimes,” he added. “Today, he [Iginla] was open there.”

Armia scored with the extra attacker with 42 seconds left in the game.

Winnipeg next hosts Nashville on Thursday.

Elsewhere in the NHL, Ottawa edged San Jose 4-3 (SO), Edmonton doubled Florida 4-2, St. Louis beat Pittsburgh 5-2, and Buffalo nipped Arizona 2-1.

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