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Avalanche hang on despite furious Florida Panthers rally in the third period

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Through the first two periods it looked like smooth sailing in the Sunshine State; as the Colorado Avalanche took on the Florida Panthers on Friday. The third however, was a whole different story.

Staked to a three-goal lead entering the third thanks to goals from Ryan O’Reilly, Paul Stastny and Jamie McGinn; the Avalanche surrendered two tallies by Florida forward Scotty Upshall in the final frame. They survived a late barrage of shots to hang on for a 3-2 victory.

"We were outstanding in the first two periods; unfortunately the third was not as good,” said Avalanche coach Patrick Roy. “This is something we have to be better at."

Both goals were assisted by defenseman Tom Gilbert; who was originally selected by the Avalanche in the fourth round of the 2002 NHL Entry Draft. He was later traded to the Edmonton Oilers in 2004 in exchange for backup goaltender (and close friend of former Av Peter Forsberg) Tommy Salo and a sixth-round draft pick.

The Avalanche were outshot 20-6 in the third period, but goaltender Semyon Varlamov came up with some big saves; allowing only two goals on 36 shots.

The game marked the return to action for Avs forward Alex Tanguay; who had missed the previous 36 contests with hip and knee injuries. Much like P.A. Parenteau did in his return Tuesday against Toronto; Tanguay contributed immediately offensively, chipping in with an assist.

"I was very happy with him," Roy said of Tanguay. "He moved the puck well. He's a difference-maker. You know the difference when he's out there."