Last week, it seemed like Semyon Varlamov’s tenure with the Colorado Avalanche had reached a crossroads. After allowing three goals in the first period, he was pulled from last Tuesday’s loss to the Minnesota Wild. He would then find himself banished to the bench, as Calvin Pickard took the net for the next two contests.

Albeit brief, that exile might have been exactly what Varlamov needed.

“I’d like to think they were huge,” head coach Patrick Roy said of the two games Varlamov sat out recently. “I think it helped Varly to regroup. It helped Varly to work with Francois [Allaire] and really refocus on this game. Sometimes it’s good to just step back, he’s been outstanding since.”

Outstanding may be an understatement. In his two contests since reclaiming the crease, Varlamov has stopped 74 of the 75 shots he has faced. When he is on top of his game (like he seemingly is right now), his athleticism and aggressiveness make him one of the elite goaltenders in the NHL.

“There is so much intensity in his game and he’s so quick,” Pickard told Mile High Sports of Varlamov. “He’s so good at pushing from A to B. He’s got a lot of fire in his game.”

That fire appears to be burning bright inside of Varlamov as of late, as his intensity and confidence have seemingly returned with him to the Avalanche net. For his part, however, he did not want to discuss his individual success.

“I have played up and down, so I’m gonna talk about the team today,” Varlamov said Wednesday after shutting out the mighty Anaheim Ducks. “I think they were outstanding for 60 minutes.”