Division leaders battle as Avalanche host Canadiens
CANADIENS (19-11-2) at AVALANCHE (18-10-4)
TV -- RDS (HD), TSN-HABS (HD), ALT (HD)
Last 10 --
Montreal 5-4-1; Colorado 6-1-3
Season Series --
This is the first and only meeting between the Canadiens and the Avalanche this season. They met one time last season, on Oct. 15, 2009, in a 3-2 decision that went Colorado's way.
Big Story --
Both squads are currently leading their respective divisions and boast 40 points on the season. Sunday's game promises to be a clash of two young, exciting teams.
While the Canadiens have a comfortable four point lead in the Northwest division standings, the squad just broke out of a three-game funk with a 4-3 victory over longtime rival Boston Bruins on Dec. 16. That win came in the nick of time as the Canadiens will begin their longest road trip of the season with Sunday’s contest in Denver.
"This trip represents a big challenge for the team. Seven games on the road can be a really positive thing and a good chance for the team to build the win from (Thursday) night," Michael Cammalleri
said. "We're planning on making the most of the trip, working hard and coming back home with as many points possible."
Colorado managed to come away with two points in its last contest with the Ottawa Senators on Friday. Colorado took its first lead of the game two minutes into the third period after battling back from three one-goal deficits. But Colorado boasts the most goals scored in the third and after again trailing by a goal in the third period, Ryan O’Reilly forced overtime with Colorado’s fifth goal of the game. Matt Duchene banged in the game-winner in the extra frame to extend Colorado’s win-streak to five games -- its longest of the season.
"I don't think anyone should be surprised by that now," Duchene said about Colorado's tendency to come back in games. "Last year we were the comeback team, and this year it seems to be the same thing."
Who’s Hot --
Duchene boasts a team best 34 points so far this season and tallied his first career overtime goal in Friday's game. The recently-acquired Tomas Fleischmann has 11 points on the season with 7 in his last three games. … Cammalleri boasts the second-most points on the Canadiens and has notched 9 points in his last eight games. Brian Gionta
is also on a roll with 4 points in his last five games, including the game-winner against the Bruins on Thursday.
Injury Report --
Montreal is missing defenseman Andrei Markov
, who is on injured reserve following season-ending knee surgery. … Colorado center Paul Stastny is day-to-day with a sore back after being hit into the boards last Thursday. Milan Hejduk has missed the last four games with a groin injury. Peter Mueller (head), Kyle Cumiskey (head), Kyle Quincey (shoulder) and Chris Stewart (hand) are also out.
Stat Pack --
The Avs are 6-3-3 against Eastern Conference opponents this season, 2-0-1 at home and 4-3-2 on the road.
Puck Drop --
In each of Colorado's wins on their recent streak, they have scored at least three goals and four of the five wins have been by a one-goal differential.