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Tanguay Plays In 500th Avs Game

by Ron Knabenbauer / Colorado Avalanche

Colorado Avalanche forward Alex Tanguay picked up another milestone in what has been a tremendous career with the club that selected him No. 12 overall in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft.

Tanguay appeared in his 500th NHL game on Monday in St. Louis to become the 19th player in franchise history to reach the half-millennial mark. He is the ninth member to reach the milestone since the franchise moved to Denver in 1995.

He has also made a dent in the franchise's record books while wearing the team's colors with 153 goals and 435 points, both marks ranking ninth all time.

His first point with the team came in his first NHL contest on Oct. 5, 1999 at Nashville, a moment the Ste-Justine, Quebec native won't forget

"I had an assist on that Claude Lemieux goal in the first period," recalled Tanguay. "First NHL game is a memory that never goes away."

Tanguay is close to two other milestones as well. He is 28 games away from 1000 NHL contests, and he is three points shy of 800 career points after registering 265 goals and 532 assists during his 15-year NHL career that also saw him play in Calgary, Montreal and Tampa Bay.

He has a team-high 12 goals and 24 points in 34 games this season.

Tanguay's landmark game didn't quite go the way he expected Monday as the Avalanche fell 3-0 to the Blues at Scottrade Center.

Colorado only generated 16 shots and St. Louis goaltender Martin Brodeur added to his NHL career shutout record with the 125th perfect night of his storied career.

"A shutout is a shutout, and you have to make some saves," said Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy after the game. "But I thought maybe it was one of his easiest ones."

Roy expects more from his offense, which has five players that scored at least 20 goals and 60 points from a season ago.

"We didn't generate anything at all," Roy said of the third meeting in 17 days between the Avs and Blues. "I think we finished the night with… five scoring chances. It's not going to be enough to win hockey games in the NHL. Right now we have too many of our forwards in a slump. If you look at our last 10 games, there are too many of them with zero goals in 10 games or one goal in the last 10. It's not enough offensively. We need more from our top guys."

The Colorado bench boss did praise his defense and goaltender Semyon Varlamov for a strong night and giving the club a chance to comeback until late in the third period.

Varlamov made 22 saves on 25 shots in his second game back after missing six contests with a groin injury. His key saves in the second and third periods kept the club alive after the Blues took the lead.

The rear guards in front of him also did their part with a good back-checking game, cleanly breaking up any rush by St. Louis. Colorado's 'D' kept most of the Blues' shots to the outside and contested nearly every one as less than half of the shots attempted ended up reaching Varlamov.

"Our defense is playing well," Roy said. "We're playing well defensively. Varly made several good saves for us. Even at the start of the third, we gave up two breakaways. [Overall] we did not play a good game today. We were not sharp, and we cannot be happy with that performance. No doubt about it."

The first period was pretty uneventful as each team traded a few shots here and there with fairly smooth transition play through each zone. Colorado ended up finishing with an 8-5 shot advantage in a swift opening stanza that only lasted 30 total minutes in length.

However in the second period, the Blues began their shooting onslaught and tightened up defensively in the neutral zone—a strategy that worked for the remainder of the game.

"We have been talking about playing simple hockey. Put pucks on net, and tonight, how many times did we lose the puck at the blue line on turnovers or giveaways? We're going to have to be better in those areas, and we are going to have to look at what the other team does," Roy said. "They put a lot of shots on net. They don't care if it's outside the blue line or if it's at the blue line. Our forwards need to play a lot better than what they are doing right now for us."

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