Game preview: MTL vs. COL
CANADIENS (37-25-7) vs. AVALANCHE (44-19-5)
Riding high after a four-point weekend, the Habs will take on the Avs on Tuesday night at the Bell Centre
The Avalanche overcame the Ottawa Senators on Sunday, winning by a score of 3-1. Semyon Varlamov made 38 saves for Colorado. Andre Benoit, Nick Holden and John Mitchell were the goal-scorers.
The Avs are led by former Canadiens great Patrick Roy, a first-year head coach at the NHL level. The four-time Stanley Cup winner has done a remarkable job since taking over for outgoing bench boss Joe Sacco, who failed to take the team into the playoffs in the three previous season. Against all expectations, the rookie coach managed to revamp the team’s culture and attitude despite having largely the same group of players at his disposition. After a hot start to the season, the Avs’ game has levelled off somewhat, but the team is still sitting in second place in the Central Division behind only St. Louis.
Colorado’s offence is clicking well despite the lack of one go-to scorer. The team is ranked sixth in the league in goals scored and 13th overall in goals against. Leading the Avs’ charges are Matt Duchene, who has 64 points in 65 games, Ryan O’Reilly, captain Gabriel Landeskog and 18 year-old rookie Nathan MacKinnon, who has 22 goals.
While starting goaltender Semyon Varlamov’s save percentage has regressed from over 0.940 at the start of the year to 0.925, he is still posting excellent numbers. Experienced backup Jean-Sebastien Giguere has done the job in limited action, going 10-5 with a 0.914 save percentage.
Colorado will be without Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau, Alex Tanguay and Paul Statsny. Statsny is day-to-day with back spasms while the other two players are expected to miss the rest of the regular season.
Tuesday’s game will be the second of two season meetings between the two teams. Montreal will be attempting to reverse a four-game losing streak against Colorado, dating back to February 2009.