Colorado Avalanche @ Montreal Canadiens — Game Preview


The final stop for the Colorado Avalanche on this four-game Eastern Conference road swing is Montreal, for a contest against Les Habitants. The Canadiens have won four out of their first five games, and sit atop the Atlantic Division. Interestingly, despite the strong record, Montreal has a negative goal differential, with 17 goals for and 18 against. The Habs have actually allowed more goals than the Avalanche (17) in an equal number of games. Montreal is coming off a 6-4 win against Boston in their home opener.

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  • Things haven’t been quite as happy-go-lucky for the Avalanche so far this season. The Avs have blown a third period lead in each of their last two games. The goaltending situation for the Avalanche is a bit tenuous and unclear. Stalwart Semyon Varlamov is on IR with a groin issue, and his backup Reto Berra hit the deck hard after being run over by Kyle Turris in Thursday night’s game. Berra may be able to go, but if he isn’t, a pair of 22 year olds will suit up for the Avs. Calvin Pickard would get the start with Sami Aittokalio as his backup.

    The Avalanche haven’t done a good job stopping Montreal from scoring in their past visits to the Bell Centre. The Canadiens have posted a 3-1-1 record against the Avs, and potted 25 goals over those 5 games. With a young, inexperienced goaltender figuring to be in net for the Avalanche tonight, the trend could continue.


    Colorado Avalanche (1-3-1) @ Montreal Canadiens (4-1-0)

    Projected Avalanche Forward Lines:

    Landeskog – MacKinnon – O’Reilly

    Iginla – Duchene – Tanguay

    McGinn – Mitchell – Briere

    McCleod – Cliche – Talbot

    Defensively, I’d really like to see Zach Redmond get his first appearance tonight. The Avs need to get something going, and I think Redmond can really infuse some potency to the power play, and clean up some of the transition passing and zone outlet issues that have plagued the Avalanche.

    Meet the Enemy — Montreal Players to Watch:

    PA Parenteau: PA has had an immediate impact with the Habs, scoring 2 goals and adding 3 assists through the first 5 games. Avalanche fans are familiar with Mr. Parenteau, and are also familiar with the fact that former Avs always tend to come up with big goals against their old team. PA is playing well, and has seemed to fit in seamlessly with his new teammates, so he’s as good a candidate as any to be a former player turned into thorn in the Avalanche side, as per tradition.

    Tomas Plekanec: Plekanec is one of the underrated players in the NHL. He is currently leading Montreal in points with 7, which also has him tied for 2nd in the NHL. Plekanec is a crafty and smart hockey player, with sneaky skill. He doesn’t really blow you away with any one attribute, but at the end of the night, he usually will appear on the scoresheet, and will have done the little things to help his team win.

    PK Subban: Subban is arguably the most electrifying defenseman in the league. He is big, talented, not afraid to hit, and also prone to being just a bit crazy. This makes him extremely entertaining to watch. Apparently the Canadiens are willing to live with his eccentric personality, because they just commited $72M dollars to him over the next 8 seasons.

    Carey Price: Price has always been on the fringe of being considered an elite goaltender in the world of hockey, but his performance last year at the Olympics for Canada made a strong case that he is one of the world’s premier puck stoppers. That being said, Price hasn’t found his groove yet this season, posting a 3.75 GAA and 0.874 save percentage. His record doesn’t reflect those stats, however, as he is 3-1 so far on the young season.


    I really don’t have a lot of confidence in the way the Avalanche are playing right now, and Montreal comes in to this game hot. Plus, the Avalanche in all likelihood will be starting an AHL goaltender. Not a lot of good reasons to pick the Avalanche to win this game, so that’s exactly what I’m going to do.

    The Avs are a team desperate to end their road trip with a win, while Montreal is coming off a nice win against their rival Bruins. Could be just the right mix for a hungry Avalanche team, who find a way to win a high scoring affair against a slightly relaxed Montreal squad.

    Avalanche 5 – Canadiens 4

    Mid-morning Updates:

    Also, looks like Nate Guenin is in the lineup again. My wish for Redmond once again — Denied!