It seems like it was only a couple of years back when Alex Tanguay was suiting up alongside fresh-faced Colorado Avalanche forwards like Chris Drury and Milan Hejduk, but, as of tonight, Tanguay will become a 1,000-game player.
Tanguay has made his career as a skillful set-up man, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been able to find his name in the goal column throughout his career. As he gets ready to suit up for the milestone game, fittingly with the same Colorado Avalanche he began his career with, here are the 10 best moments of Tanguay’s career:
10. Tanguay drops the mitts
You don’t stay in the world’s best league for 1,000 games without being a fiery competitor, and Tanguay never shied away from physical play. That said, though, Tanguay’s fight in his sophomore season against Alexandre Boikov was the first and only scrap of his career.
Maybe it wasn’t the brightest decision of Tanguay’s young career – he was the clear loser in this bout – but in a way it goes to show the type of player he wanted to be and, eventually, became: one that wasn’t afraid of confrontation or throwing his weight around when the time came.
9. Wily veteran still has it
The funny thing about looking into Tanguay’s career highlight reel is that he has made his career on being a playmaking winger, but has scored more than his fair share of jaw-dropping goals.
Tanguay is 35, but with age comes wisdom and, in this instance, a bit of creativity. Watch the way Tanguay corrals this puck to get in behind the San Jose defense:
8. Third star of the 2011 Heritage Classic
Tanguay has another year left on his contract with the Avalanche, which is good news for Colorado when they go outdoors next season. In Tanguay’s first outdoor contest, the 2011 Heritage Classic between Calgary and Montreal, he racked up an assist on the Flames’ first goal and capped the scoring with this tap-in from Jarome Iginla.
Both Iginla and Tanguay are teammates in Colorado again, too. Could we see this connection again next season?
7. Dazzling deke leads to goal against Flames
Remember that move Tanguay pulled on the Sharks this season? It wasn’t even his best of the year.
A month after his outstanding goal against the Sharks, Tanguay was back at it by pulling one of the nicest moves we’ve seen all season against the same Calgary Flames that had sent him packing just two seasons earlier.
The way Tanguay gets Kris Russell moving to the puck side is ridiculous, as is the pull back to the forehand that leaves Russell chasing the play. Like the goal on Niemi, the veteran Tanguay simply outwaits Karri Ramo. Beautiful.
6. The 16-game point streak
This isn’t so much a moment as it is a string of games that showcased just the kind of thing Tanguay is, or was, capable of.
In 2002-03, four seasons into Tanguay’s career, he went on a 16-game point streak that spanned from Feb. 6 to March 7, 2003. But he didn’t really stop there. Once his streak was snapped, he came back the next game and started another four-game streak. Once that ended, it was followed by a five-game run.
Oddly, it wasn’t even the highest scoring season of Tanguay’s career. He finished 2002-03 with 26 goals and 67 points in 82 games.
5. Tanguay comes through in overtime
When 2006 rolled around, Tanguay was one of the stars of the new-look Colorado Avalanche. Still led by Joe Sakic, the depth of the team was extremely thin after Tanguay and the team finished seventh in the Western Conference, but snuck into the playoffs.
In the first round, the Avalanche drew the Dallas Stars were big time underdogs. After winning the first two games on the road, however, Colorado had put a scare into Dallas and had a chance to take a stranglehold of the series with another big victory.
Down 3-2 with time winding down and the Avalanche on the power play, Tanguay assisted on an Andrew Burnette tally that tied the game with 57 seconds left on the clock. Then, 1:09 into overtime, Tanguay buried a feed from Brett McLean, sending the Avalanche to a 3-0 series lead. They would go on to down Dallas in five games before being swept by the Anaheim Ducks in the next round.
4. 200 tallies for Tanguay
Tanguay may have only spent one 80-game stint in Tampa Bay, and it may have been a subpar season from the winger, but he made it count in one big way.
In a Jan. 16, 2010 contest against the Florida Panthers, Tanguay became one of only 441 players in NHL history to rack up 200 career tallies. If he can make it for another two or three seasons, 300 is well within reach. As of his 999th game, Tanguay has 269 goals.
3. 1,000th game not the only milestone of 2014-15
On Jan. 9, 2015 Tanguay became part of a very prolific group of scorers when he notched his 800th career point in a game against the Ottawa Senators.
While the goal scoring feat five years earlier is a nice feather in Tanguay’s cap, it’s that he has quietly become one of the top 150 scorers in NHL history that is even more impressive.
Going into game 1,000, Tanguay is the 148th highest scoring player in the history of the game, posting 269 goals and 813 points in 999 outings. Those are unbelievable totals from a player who generally isn’t spoken of as one of the games best offensive stars.
2. Top 150 in assists with 500th helper
And like he hasn’t been lauded as a prolific scorer, he’s rarely thought of as one of the players who were great puck distributors during the 2000s. However, Tanguay has put himself into the top 150 all-time in assists.
He recorded assist number 500 – a mark only 134 other players in the game have achieved – on Feb. 3, 2013 against the Chicago Blackhawks. The assist may not have been the most beautiful of his career, but they all count. He's currently 108th all time with 544 assists.
1. Tanguay steals the show in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final
If you were to look at the 2001 Stanley Cup final rosters, a series that pitted Patrick Roy against Martin Brodeur, the obvious thought would be that one of those two legendary netminders would steal the show in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final. It was Tanguay, however, that propelled the Avalanche to victory.
Midway through the first period, Tanguay broke a scoreless tie with his fifth goal of the postseason. He followed that up with a second marker, his sixth of the playoffs, less than five minutes into the second frame to put Colorado up 2-0.
Less than two minutes later, Tanguay assisted on Joe Sakic’s goal that put the Avalanche ahead 3-0. Petr Sykora scored midway through the second frame to bring the Devils close, but Tanguay’s three points proved to be the difference as Colorado won 3-1 and skated away with their second Stanley Cup.