It looks as though Colorado Avalanche veteran forward Alex Tanguay, no stranger to Avs fans young and old, is beginning to heat up this season.
Tanguay scored one of two goals for the Avalanche in a 3-2 loss on the road at the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday night, skating in his second game in as many nights to close out a three-game road swing.
The marker was Tanguay’s second of the season, coming just one night after he potted his first in a hard-fought 2-1 win at the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Tanguay tallied after corralling a Nathan MacKinnon shot that deflected off of young forward Mikhail Grigorenko. The puck found Tanguay all alone on the backdoor, and he was able to fire the biscuit behind Cam Ward and into the Carolina net.
Tanguay’s sudden offensive boost came nearly immediately after Colorado head coach Patrick Roy reunited the 35-year-old wing and his former Calgary Flames teammate, Jarome Iginla. While Iginla may not have assisted on Tanguay’s goal on Friday, the duo has a productive history skating together.
Usually it is Tanguay feeding Iginla for the tally, which has happened 76 times since the two began playing together. Thursday, it was the opposite, as No. 12 was the one helping a friend find the back of the net.
Chemistry, consistency, the kind of almost-telepathic bond between players is something that only comes with time spent skating together and learning how each other plays.
“It’s always nice to play with a guy over and over so you can kind of catch his tendencies and know what he’s going to be doing with the puck or positionally,” defenseman Nick Holden said on Friday.
While the two vets have a history of working and scoring in tandem, adding Nathan MacKinnon to the mix has produced results in two straight games.
The infusion of youth is exactly what they needed. There’s speed, skill and experience working as a triple threat. That doesn’t mean things were easy for the pairing against a defense-oriented Hurricanes squad.
“Last night, the MacKinnon line with Tanguay and Iginla, they were phenomenal,” Roy said. “Tonight, it was a little tougher for them.
“I thought we were under control when it was 1-0 almost halfway in the game and then [Carolina] scored those two goals. We just gave one in the third. We were playing against a team that played really well defensively, and they didn’t give us much.”
MacKinnon and Tanguay have connected once before this road trip as well, when No. 40 fed the former Calder Trophy-winning center for the game-winning tally at the Anaheim Ducks on Oct. 16.
Tanguay has two goals and four assists this season.
VARLAMOV PLAYING STRONG
Playing in his second game in as many nights, Avalanche starting netminder Semyon Varlamov was hoping to continue his return to excellence on the road at the Carolina Hurricanes.
He did just that, though the 3-2 score didn’t reflect his accomplishments.
A night after Varlamov won his 108th game in an Avs sweater—moving him past Dan Bouchard into sole possession of second place on the franchise’s all-time wins list—the 27-year-old Russian posted another solid outing. Varlamov turned aside 23 shots in Raleigh, North Carolina, earning praise from his coach.
“He was really good. He played well [in] the game in Tampa, obviously, and I was very happy to see how he bounced back again tonight,” Roy said. “I thought he made some good saves, kept us in the game late in the second. We’re a bit fragile. When we go down, it takes us a bit of time to get back on our feet. Our confidence level is not as high as it should be. Varly made some important saves at the end of the second and even at some times in the third. It gave us a chance to come back in that game.”
Colorado center Carl Soderberg picked up his first goal in an Avalanche sweater on Friday night, burying the puck from the far side of the crease late in the third period.
Playing largely a defensive role with the club, Soderberg has been coming on strong as of late and was finally rewarded for his effort.
The 30-year-old Swede was moved to a line alongside captain Gabriel Landeskog and center Matt Duchene during Friday’s contest, and the switch paid off.
“He played well with Landy and Dutchy. We’ll see how it goes,” Roy said of his new line combination. “He came here to play a two-way hockey game, and it’s exactly what he’s been doing for us. Tonight, scoring a goal is good for him—I’m sure for his confidence.”