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Varlamov, Avalanche shut down Lightning

by Corey Long

TAMPA -- Semyon Varlamov made 34 saves to lead the Colorado Avalanche to a 2-1 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena on Thursday.

Alex Tanguay and Nathan MacKinnon scored goals for Colorado (3-5-1). Alex Killorn had the lone goal for Tampa Bay (5-3-2). The Lightning are 0-2-1 in the past three games and have scored one goal during that span.

Avalanche coach Patrick Roy moved Tanguay and MacKinnon to Jarome Iginla's line after a 4-1 loss to the Florida Panthers on Tuesday. The move paid off as the line was responsible for all of Colorado's offense Thursday.

"We all can score, it's a good mix, we seem to mesh very pretty well," MacKinnon said. "I thought we controlled the play and were good defensively. Definitely a lot of positives."

The Avalanche took a 1-0 lead with 4:03 remaining in the first period when Tanguay scored his first goal of the season. The goal was allowed after a video review determined that Tanguay's shot crossed the goal line past the pads of Lightning goalie Ben Bishop.

"We played a good, solid game 5-on-5, I think they only scored on the power play," Tanguay said. "We'll take the two points; it's two points we desperately need right now. We have to continue to play with that same urgency. We have to want the puck and want to make plays with it and hopefully bounces will come our way."

MacKinnon made it 2-0 at 13:04 of the second period with his fourth goal of the season. As the Avalanche crashed the net, Iginla's shot hit Bishop's pad and landed on the stick of MacKinnon, who fired home the rebound.

"I was talking to [Iginla] and we wanted some ugly [goals] today and we both got ugly ones and those feel great," MacKinnon said. "It feels like those goals are sustainable."

Iginla had two assists, giving him 1,233 career points. He moved past Phil Housley into 38th place on the NHL's all-time scoring list.

Tampa Bay, which was shut out by the Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues in the final two games of a road trip, ended its goal drought at 156:03 when Killorn scored at 15:46 of the second period on a power play. Varlamov made a save on a wrist shot from Victor Hedman in the left circle, but Killorn controlled the rebound and hit a wide-open net.

"We scored one but it seems like we've had a ton of chances," Killorn said. "Their goalie played well. That's the way things have been going lately, we just have to get over this hump. There's ebbs and flows during the season. It's too bad that a goal drought happens early on but we've been through this before."

The Lightning outshot Colorado 13-5 in the third period and peppered Varlamov with shots in the final five minutes but couldn't score. Ondrej Palat had a good look at an open net with less than 20 seconds left but Varlamov reached out with his stick and knocked the puck away.

"I thought out of the last three games that was our best game chances wise, we had a lot of opportunities," Lightning forward Ryan Callahan said. "[We had a] bunch of 2-on-1s, couple posts, couple breakaways. We created a lot more opportunities and it's going to come when you're having that many chances."

Varlamov also stopped a shorthanded breakaway attempt by Palat earlier in the period.

"I felt good today," Varlamov said. "[This] was an important game. It was a huge game for us because we need to bring confidence back to the team."

Roy said Varlamov would play Friday when the Avalanche visit the Carolina Hurricanes.

Bishop finished with 24 saves.

Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin was a late scratch with a lower-body injury, and coach Jon Cooper said he is day-to-day.

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