Alex Tanguay and Tyson Barrie each provided two-point efforts and the Colorado Avalanche beat the Calgary Flames 3-2 in a tight matchup between teams battling for position in the Western Conference playoff race.

Semyon Varlamov stayed scorching hot by stopping 29 shots in his fifth consecutive victory. The 26-year-old netminder has a 1.00 goals-against average with a .968 save percentage in those five wins.

Led by Varly, the Avalanche (32-26-11) have now won five of their last six and eight of their last 11 games as they slowly claw their way closer to a playoff position. With 13 games remaining, the club sits just five points back of the Winnipeg jets for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

The loss ended a streak of six straight games without a regulation loss for the Flames (38-26-5).

Special teams were key as Calgary was unable to convert on three power play opportunities while Colorado found the back of the net on their only chance with the man advantage. The Avalanche have only allowed one goal on their last 27 penalty kills.

Tanguay opened the scoring against his former club with a power play marker after the Flames took a penalty for too many men on the ice. Tanguay banked the puck in off the back of Karri Ramo’s leg from behind the goal line.

Just under two minutes later, Ryan O’Reilly took a feed from Tanguay, drove wide, and beat Ramo top-shelf to extend the Avs’ lead to two goals.

Former Avalanche forward David Jones got the Flames on the board at 3:54 of the third period when a pass bounced off his skate and into Varlamov’s net as he drove the net on a rush.

John Mitchell provided a quick answer with a goal to reestablish the two-goal lead just 28 seconds later. Mitchell made a nice move to shake a defender at the blue line before beating Ramo high-glove with a snap shot that would turn out to be the game-winner.

Calgary pulled within one goal again just moments later when Lance Bouma beat Varlamov with an unimpeded blast from the top of the left faceoff circle. Bouma, Jones, and Mikael Backlund registered two points apiece in the losing effort.

“Like I said to the guys,” Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy said.“ We’re not going to back up because we’re up 2-0 – we’re still going to go at them. And that’s exactly what we did, we just continued to go at them. We didn’t want to back up and give them some rush chance or something like this and I thought we did a good job.”

The Avs have four days off before they start a five-game road trip with a visit to the cellar-dwelling Arizona Coyotes on Thursday.

Nathan is a staff writer for Mile High Sports. He can be reached on Twitter at @TheRealNatron.

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