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Quick Hits: Colorado Avalanche vs. Montreal Canadiens

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Welcome to Avalanche Quick Hits, your one stop shop for all your Colorado Avalanche needs the day after the game.

*This game was about the goalies. Patrick Roy’s return to Montreal and Jean-Sebastien Giguere’s potential last game in his hometown. Roy downplayed it as just another game. Giguere wanted to have a great game and get his team a win.

*Giguere had a terrible game. He gave up 5 goals on 35 shots. On the first goal, he overplayed the shooter going around the net, leaving Thomas Vanek all alone for an easy tap in. On the second goal, he was completely off his angle, playing the center of his crease while Travis Moen was on Giguere’s right with only one place to put the puck on his backhand.

*It was a 2-2 game after two, but I don’t think any Avalanche fan had confidence in Giguere making a big save in the 3rd. He gave up an early goal to Brandon Prust where it looked like he lost sight of the puck on the pass across.

*The Avs came back to tie it at 3 but then Giguere took a penalty late in the 3rd, which led to a Montreal PP goal. In defense of Giguere, the Avs had two clean chances to clear the puck but whiffed. If Giguere doesn’t take the penalty though, they aren’t in that situation.

*Did I mention that Jean-Sebastien Giguere was terrible this game? Maybe he put too much pressure on himself given the circumstances or maybe his back is really bad, but it’s pretty easy to see why the Avs went out and acquired Reto Berra at the trade deadline. I’d be shocked if Giguere saw the ice again this season unless it’s in a meaningless home game for the fans to give him a send off prior to the playoffs.

*Paul Stastny returned to the lineup after missing the last four games with back problems. Of course, when one Avalanche player returns, another must get injured, and this time it was John Mitchell who went hard into the boards and didn’t return in the second period.

*Nathan MacKinnon and Matt Duchene were great once again. MacKinnon had a pretty backhand goal to get the scoring started and Duchene made two great passes to setup goals from Max Talbot and Jamie McGinn. Duchene, McGinn, and Ryan O’Reilly were definitely the Avs best line.

*The defense struggled with their coverage most of the night. I thought Erik Johnson had a strong game but otherwise no one really stood out defensively. The Canadiens had a number of good looks around the net and the Avs failed to really push guys away from the crease. The Habs might be a small bunch up front, but they are definitely scrappy.

*Thomas Vanek had yet to score for the Habs since being acquired by them. He had a hat trick in this game. If he goes on a goal scoring tear and becomes the game breaker that the Canadiens believe he can be, Giguere won’t be getting any retirement well wishes from opposing clubs in the Eastern Conference.

*P.K. Subban is really fun to watch, but I can see why Montreal fans get frustrated with him.

*The Avs penalty kill really needs to sharpen up before the playoffs start. I don’t understand why Matt Duchene and Paul Stastny, two really smart defensive players, aren’t used on the PK more. Something needs to change because the current group of guys isn’t getting it done consistently.

*The Avs were 33-1-3 when scoring first, but have lost two of the last three when they’ve gotten the first goal. I’m not really sure how to explain that other than the goaltending was bad in both of those losses.

*The good news for the Avs? The Chicago Blackhawks lost in overtime in Philadelphia, putting that tied with the Avalanche at 93 points. The Avs hold the tiebreaker though, meaning they’re still in the home-ice driver’s seat when it comes to the inevitable first round matchup. I guess the good news would’ve been if the Blackhawks had lost in regulation, but this is better than nothing.

*Next Up: Wednesday at Winnipeg Jets

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