Matt Duchene likely won't play in this first-round playoff series against the Minnesota Wild.
Duchene would add the extra scoring punch that the Avs could desperately use to easily push past the Wild. Instead, look for a Round 2 return from a knee injury at the earliest for the Avs' leading scorer.
Varlamov was sensational for the Avalanche this season. He led the NHL with 41 wins and posted a strong 2.41 GAA and .927 SV%. He has won seven of his last eight starts and comes into the playoffs as the leagues' hottest netminder. He was 3-0-1 with a 2.16 GAA and .929 SV% vs. the Wild this season.
Mitchell (concussion) is unlikely to play in the first round.
Mitchell missed the final two games of the regular season and likely will not play in the first round vs. Minnesota. Mitchell had scored two goals with four assists in seven games since returning from a back injury.
Giguere will start Sunday for the Avalanche; not Varlamov as originally announced.
Giguere allowed two goals on 24 shots after replacing Reto Berra on Friday. Originally April 8th vs. Edmonton looked like it could be Giggy's last NHL game, but he will get the call tonight vs. the Ducks in what should be his final NHL start. Giguere is 11-6-0 with a 2.61 GAA and .913 SV% this season.
Varlamov stopped 38 of 40 shots in a win over the Canucks on Thursday. He set the new Avalanche franchise record with 41 regular season wins. Varlamov has been unreal as of late, having won seven of his last eight starts. The Avalanche will give him the nod tonight to try and win the Central Division a season after finishing 29th in the NHL.
Berra allowed five goals on 27 shots in a loss to the Jets in his only start with the Avalanche since being dealt to Colorado at the trade deadline. Between the Avs and Flames, Berra has gone 9-17-3 with a 3.02 GAA and .894 SV% in his first NHL season. The 27-year-old is already signed on to be Semyon Varlamov's backup next season, so the Avs would like to see some promise out of him tonight vs. the Sharks.
Varlamov stopped 30 of 32 shots in a shootout loss to the Penguins on Sunday. He was given Tuesday night off, but will be back in goal tonight in Vancouver. With a win tonight, Varlamov will break head coach Patrick Roy's record for most wins in a single season with 41. He is 6-0-1 in his last seven with only 14 goals against, get him in your lineup.