Avalanche crush Capitals as Semyon Varlamov stones former employers

Colorado Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov enjoyed his time with Washington Capitals.

Despite some nerves, he also had a good time in his first game against them.

Alex Tanguay scored twice and Varlamov made 40 saves in his return to Washington as the Avalanche remained perfect under coach Patrick Roy with a 5-1 win on Saturday night.

“I got too excited to play against my old team,” said Varlamov, who was drafted by Washington in 2006 and traded to Colorado in 2011.

“That’s why I think I am too nervous. In the warmups, my legs were shaking. The whole first period my legs were shaking. But after the first period, I feel so much better.”

It is the first time the Avalanche franchise is 5-0 since the 1994-95 season when the team was the Quebec Nordiques.

“We take it one day at a time and just say, ‘Why not? Why not us?’” Roy said of Colorado’s early success. “We’re working hard every day. We’re humble. We know we’re playing against good teams.”

Roy was careful when asked if he sees some of himself in the 25-year-old Varlamov, who improved to 4-0 with a 1.00 goals against average.

“I don’t want to start comparing,” he said, “but at the same time, he’s playing outstanding. Both goalies have been, ‘Wow’, for us. What I like about Varly is he’s always under control.”

Rookie Nathan MacKinnon added his first NHL goal and an assist, and Matt Duchene and Jamie McGinn also scored for Colorado. Paul Stastny earned two assists, including his 400th NHL point as Colorado went 3-0 on a trip that included stops at Toronto and Boston.

Varlamov carried a shutout into the third period before Eric Fehr beat him at 2:03.

“He played great. He’s been playing great,” Washington coach Adam Oates said of Varlamov. “Everything they do right now is turning to gold.”

Michael Neuvirth made 23 saves for the Capitals (1-4) in his first start this season. Washington has lost three straight.

“It starts in our end. We’ve got to be stronger. We’ve got to make sure pucks get out,” Fehr said. “I think we need to want the puck a little bit more.”

Trailing 2-0 after one period, the Capitals put 19 shots on Varlamov in the second without scoring.

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