Mike Komisarek congratulates former Avs' goalie David Aebischer after Montreal's come-from-behind 8-5 win over Colorado.
MONTREAL - It wasn't a goaltenders' duel to say the least, but David Aebsicher got the better of Jose Theodore with the Habs goalie wearing a smile from ear-to-ear following an 8-5 win over his former team.
Despite Theodore circling the date on his calendar since announcement of the NHL schedule this summer, the former Canadiens netminder couldn't manage to pick up the win before the fans he played in front of for almost a decade. Instead, Theodore allowed eight goals in by far his toughest outing since joining the Avalanche.
Even with Colorado having held 3-0, 3-1 and 4-2 leads, Theodore was unable to handle the avalanche of offense the Canadiens had in store for him to close out the game. The Habs exploded for five goals in the third period alone on their way to their highest goal output since trouncing the Penguins 8-0 in Pittsburgh on Jan. 10, 2004.
Drafted in the sixth round, 161st overall by the Avalanche at the 1997 NHL Draft, Aebischer spent five seasons in Colorado before his trade to the Habs last March in exchange for Theodore just before the deadline. The 28-year-old was Patrick Roy's understudy for three years before taking over the Avs' crease following the legendary goalie's retirement in the summer of 2003.
"I was anxious to play all day, but I wasn't nervous," said Aebischer after making 33 saves against his former club. "It really hit me in the pre-game warm-up when I saw my old teammates that I played with for so long on the other side, like Joe Sakic."
The building was buzzing well before puck drop as the tension reached a fever pitch with alternating chants of "Abby" and braying of "Theo" filling the Bell Centre throughout the night.
"We knew how emotional a game this was going to be," said Carbonneau, who during his playing days experienced the memorable return of Guy Lafleur as both a Ranger and then a Nordique. "Whenever players like Jose and Patrice [Brisebois] return home there's bound to be something special in the air. Every guy in our dressing room wanted to win this game for David. I was glad to see the way we fought back and this will definitely give him and the rest of the guys a boost."
Obviously happy with the win, Carbonneau also let out a sigh of relief once the final siren went.
"To be honest, this game had me worried," admitted Carbonneau. "This was the kind of big game that can haunt a team. At least now we won't hear for the next few days, weeks and months how Theo came home and beat the Montreal Canadiens."
Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.com