Avs take on Caps without Varlamov

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Colorado Avalanche are on their first winning streak of the season, but they'll have to try and extend that run on Thursday night without their No. 1 goaltender as they play host to the Washington Capitals.

Semyon Varlamov will miss tonight's game after aggravating a groin injury in Saturday's 3-2 win over the New Jersey Devils. Varlamov, who missed three games earlier this season due to a groin issue, is day-to-day and as of now isn't expected to need time on injured reserve.

Varlamov, a former Capitals netminder, played for the 10th time in Colorado's past 13 games when he made 23 saves to beat the Devils. He is 4-5-4 on the season with a 2.95 goals against average and .918 save percentage on the campaign.

Calvin Pickard was recalled from the minor leagues to back up Reto Berra, who is expected to face the Capitals for the first time in his career tonight.

Erik Johnson and Matt Duchene scored third-period goals on Saturday to help Colorado split a four-game road trip by winning two straight for the first time all season. John Mitchell also scored.

"We're very happy with those last two wins and hopefully we can build on that for the next game at home against Washington," said Colorado head coach Patrick Roy.

The Capitals themselves are trying to win a second straight contest as they picked up a 2-1 overtime victory against the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday night. Eric Fehr netted the game-winner at the 3:16 mark of the extra time, putting home a rebound past netminder Mike Smith.

Jay Beagle scored the other goal while Braden Holtby stopped 23 shots for the Capitals, who snapped a two-game slide.

"I think anytime you can grind out a win, it's always a good thing," said Capitals head coach Barry Trotz. "It was a big win on the road. We needed that."

Washington had scored just once in its two previous losses and was outscored 9-2 in losing both of its matchups last season with Colorado. The Avs have won four straight overall in this series, including two in a row at home.

Holtby has faced the Avalanche only once before and gave up four goals on 37 shots in a 4-1 defeat in Colorado on Nov. 10 of last year.