Colorado Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov is set to return to the crease and start Thursday night’s matchup with the New Jersey Devils after missing just one game with a groin injury, head coach Patrick Roy announced Thursday morning.

Varlamov aggravated his groin late in the third period of Sunday’s win in Minnesota, but the issue was never believed to be as serious as the groin complications that forced the 26-year-old out of the lineup on three separate occasions for a total of 15 games earlier in the season.

“It’s not even the same groin,” coach Roy said following practice on Wednesday.

The injury ended Varlamov’s streak of 22 consecutive games started – one game shy of Craig Anderson’s Avalanche record (23). Varly was in the zone before the injury – earning the NHL’s second star of the week for carrying his team to three wins last week.

The Avs elected to recall Calvin Pickard from the Lake Erie Monsters to start in Varlamov’s absence. But the rookie netminder was unable to find his early season magic in a spot start on Tuesday – allowing three goals on eight shots before being pulled by coach Roy in the first period of a 5-2 loss to the Los Angeles Kings.

Pickard will be in street clothes on Thursday night, as Reto Berra will serve in his normal role as Colorado’s backup goalie.

The Avalanche currently sit seven points out of the final playoff position in the Western Conference. Having Varlamov at 100 percent is imperative to the club’s chances of clawing their way into the postseason.

Nathan is a staff writer for Mile High Sports. He can be reached on Twitter at @TheRealNatron.

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