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Avalanche 5, Capitals 1

The SportsXchange

WASHINGTON -- At 33 years old, Alex Tanguay is the Avalanche's senior statesman among the team's forwards.

On Saturday night against the Washington Capitals, the veteran left wing scored a pair of goals and watched youngsters Matt Duchene and Nathan MacKinnon celebrate their own tallies in a 5-1 rout at the Verizon Center.

The Avalanche also received a goal from Jamie McGinn and 39 saves from goaltender Semyon Varlamov to improve to a perfect 5-0-0 under first-year coach Patrick Roy.

It is the best start for the Avalanche since they moved from Quebec to Denver 20 years ago.

Varlamov has allowed one goal in each of his four starts this season.

The Capitals had trouble handling the Avs' speedy forwards and fell to 1-4-0. Eric Fehr scored their only goal.

The game began with the backdrop of Varlamov facing the Capitals and his former backup Michal Neuvirth for the first time since being traded to Colorado in the summer of 2011.

Upon announcing Neuvirth would be getting his first start of the season, Capitals coach Adam Oates said, "Go get 'em, Neuvy."

It was Varlamov and the Avalanche who jumped out to the early lead.

The Avalanche have been nearly perfect in first periods this season and that trend continued when Alex Tanguay, 33, and Matt Duchene, 22, scored off rushes.

Tanguay netted his first of the season when he snapped a give-and go feed from Gabriel Landeskog off the stick of Washington defenseman John Carlson and past Neuvirth for his first of the season at the 6:42 mark.

Duchene used a burst of speed to get past Caps defenseman Karl Alzner, roofing a shot over Neuvirth from in close for his third goal of the season and a 2-0 lead.

Varlamov stopped fellow Russian Alex Ovechkin twice and kicked away a redirection from Jason Chimera to keep the Caps at bay heading into the first intermission.

The Avs converted on their only power play of the second period when rookie center Nathan MacKinon made it 3-0 with his first career NHL goal.

MacKinnon, 18, snapped a centering pass from Stastny past Neuvirth and celebrated by hurdling himself into the glass.

The Avs made it 4-0 just 1:19 into the third period when Tanguay scored a shorthanded goal. Fehr drew the Caps to within three goals but McGinn restored the lead with his third goal of the season.

NOTES: The game was the first of the season matching two Hall of Fame players behind their respective benches. Avalanche coach Patrick Roy was inducted in 2006; Capitals coach Adam Oates was enshrined in 2012. ... Capitals rookie D Nate Schmidt made his NHL debut in place of D John Erskine, who is being listed as day-to-day with an upper body injury. ... Avalanche C Paul Stastny entered the game needing one point to reach 400 in the NHL, which would leave him 236 behind his uncle, Anton, and 648 behind his father, Peter. ... The Avalanche entered the game a perfect 10-for-10 on the penalty kill, one of only two NHL teams (Vancouver Canucks) who had not allowed a power-play goal. ... The Avalanche have outscored opponents 5-0 in the first period this season. The Capitals have allowed a league-high eight goals in the opening 20 minutes. ... The Capitals continue their five-game homestand Monday night against the Edmonton Oilers. ... The Avalanche return home to face the Dallas Stars on Tuesday.
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