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Avalanche Continues Homestand Against Canadiens

Colorado and Montreal meet for the first time this season

by Miranda Einhorn / ColoradoAvalanche.com

Looking to bounce back from its 4-1 loss to the New York Islanders on Monday, the Colorado Avalanche (18-10-6) takes on the Montreal Canadiens (17-12-5) at Pepsi Center on Wednesday.

The Avalanche is 18-9-3 all-time against Montreal since moving to Denver in 1995, which includes an 11-2-1 record at home. Colorado has won five of the last six meetings against the Canadiens at Pepsi Center, including each of the last three.

Following the matchup, the Avalanche will stay in Denver and complete its four-game homestand on Friday against another Original Six franchise, the Chicago Blackhawks.

Last Time Out

Although the Avs outshot the Islanders 31-21, the team fell to the visitors by a 4-1 score on Monday night. Tyson Barrie and Nathan MacKinnon assisted on Gabriel Landeskog's 22nd goal of the year during a second-period power play. It was Barrie's 207th career helper, matching John-Michael Liles' franchise record for the most assists by a defenseman. New York lit the lamp on 2-of-4 man-advantage opportunities and also scored an even-strength marker and empty-net goal. Colorado goaltender Semyon Varlamov made 17 saves between the pipes.

The Boston Bruins defeated the Canadiens 4-0 at Bell Centre on Monday. Netminder Carey Price made 31 saves between the pipes, but it was not enough to stop Boston as four different players found the back of the net. In a physical game, the Habs out-hit their opponent 46-32.

Last Time They Met

The Avs and Canadiens last met on Feb. 14, 2017 at Pepsi Center in a contest that featured Semyon Varlamov recording his 23rd career shutout and the Avalanche picking up a 2-0 victory on Valentine's Day. After a scoreless first period, Carl Soderberg lit the lamp in the second frame and Alexander Kerfoot netted a wrist shot late in the third. Varlamov made 44 saves in the victory as the Avs successfully shut down four Habs power plays and extended their home win streak to 10 games.

What To Watch

Top Tier

The Avalanche's top line of Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen continues to dominate, as the trio has now combined for 150 points (58 goals, 92 assists) over 34 games. The trio is the most productive line through 34 outings since Ottawa's Daniel Alfredsson, Dany Heatley and Jason Spezza also combined for 150 point in 2005-06. Rantanen continues to lead the league with 56 points and 41 assists, while MacKinnon ranks closely behind in the scoring race in second with 53 points (21 goals, 32 assists). Landeskog (22) is fourth in the NHL in goals scored while MacKinnon (21) is tied for fifth. At least one member of the top squad has contributed on 59 percent of the Avalanche's goals this year (72 of 122).

Avs Against The East

Colorado is 10-5-2 against Eastern Conference teams this season, which includes a 4-2-1 mark at Pepsi Center. The Avs have notched 59 goals in 17 games against opposing-conference foes and have recorded 10 tallies in three contests against Original Six clubs.

Players To Watch

Colorado: Defenseman Samuel Girard

A native of Roberval, Quebec, Girard gets set to play Montreal for the third time in his NHL career. The 20-year old spent his junior years skating for the Shawinigan Cataractes of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, where the defenseman recorded 192 points (24 goals, 168 assists) in 190 games. Girard is in his second season with the Avalanche, having notched 33 points (five goals, 27 assists) in 102 contests in burgundy and blue. He ranks second among team defensemen in points (12), assists (10) and power-play points (seven) so far this campaign.

Montreal: Goaltender Carey Price

Price is one win away from earning his 300th career victory. The Canadien goalie has played in 585 games over 12 seasons with Montreal and has amassed a 2.48 goals-against average and .918 save percentage during that time. This season, he has produced a 13-9-4 record and owns a 2.94 goals-against average and .901 save percentage over 27 games. 

Lineup Notes

Avalanche goaltender Philipp Grubauer will start in net for Colorado. The German keeper is 7-0-3 in his last 10 starts. Alexander Kerfoot is expected to return to the Avs' lineup after missing the past four games with an upper-body injury. The forward was a full participant in Tuesday's practice.

View: Avalanche vs. Canadiens Projected Lineup
 

The Details

Wednesday's matchup between the Avalanche and Canadiens has a little bit of an earlier start time than usual with game time set for 6:30 p.m. MT. The contest can be watched locally on Altitude or streamed on select devices with the Altitude Now app (in market) or NHL.tv (out of market). The radio broadcast can be heard on Altitude Sports Radio FM 92.5 in the Denver area or online at ColoradoAvalanche.com.

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