MONTREAL--Goaltender Pavel Francouz made 38 saves to help the Colorado Avalanche hang on to defeat the Montreal Canadiens 3-2 on Thursday night at Bell Centre.
Ryan Graves, Gabriel Landeskog and Matt Calvert scored for the Avalanche, which jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first half of the contest. Calvert also added an assist, and Cale Makar, J.T. Compher and Mikko Rantanen had helpers as well.
Montreal chipped away at the Avs' lead with tallies from Brendan Gallagher and Nick Cousins, making it a one-goal game in the final 18-plus minutes. Colorado's defense, led by Francouz, stood strong the rest of the way, with the Avalanche netminder making 16-of-17 saves in the third period.
The victory is Colorado's second in as many nights, as the team completed a back-to-back set that began with a 3-1 win at the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday. It was also the Avs' fifth win in a row, tied for its longest such streak of the season.
The teams meet again to close their two-game season series on March 21 at Pepsi Center.
Statistics | Photo Gallery | Highlights | Watch: Coach Bednar Postgame
6:13 COL (1-0) - Cale Makar skated the puck into the offensive zone, and Ryan Graves cleaned up a loose puck to give Colorado the lead.
12:57 COL (2-0) - Gabriel Landeskog drove to the net, skated around a defender and shot far-side to score in his first game back from injury.
8:06 COL (3-0) - SHG, Matt Calvert converted on a short-handed 2-on-1 rush with J.T. Compher.
17:42 MTL (3-1) - Brendan Gallagher got the Canadiens on the scoreboard when he collected a rebound and sent it into an open net.
1:23 MTL (3-2) - PPG, Nick Cousins cut Montreal's deficit to one with a power-play goal.
Final: Avalanche - 3 | Canadiens - 2
- Matt Calvert (COL): Had a goal and an assist
- Brendan Gallagher (MTL): Scored Montreal's first goal
- Pavel Francouz (COL): Made 38 saves, including 16 in the third period
Selected by RDS
Colorado: 0 for 3
Montreal: 1 for 3
Colorado: Pavel Francouz stopped 38-of-40 shots in his ninth start of the year.
Montreal: Cayden Primeau made 32 saves in his NHL debut.
STAT OF THE NIGHT
Matt Calvert scored his eighth career short-handed marker and his second of the season. Valeri Nichushkin tallied while killing a penalty on Wednesday in Toronto, and the Avs have now scored a shorty in back-to-back games for the first time since Dec. 4-6, 2018.
Cale Makar assisted on Ryan Graves' tally to increase his season point total to 28 (eight goals, 20 assists) in 28 outings. His 28 points lead all rookies and is tied for second among all defensemen in the league… Mikko Rantanen assisted on Gabriel Landeskog's marker and now has at least a point in each of his last five games played... The Avs improved to a 3-2-0 mark in the second game of back-to-back sets this season. Colorado completed its fifth such set with a sweep after also winning 3-1 at the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday. It is the third time that the Avalanche has won both games when playing on consecutive nights this season… The Avs' previous two games before this set were also part of a back-to-back and also a sweep. It marks the first time since November 2018 that Colorado swept two consecutive back-to-back sets... The Avalanche is now 13-2-2 when it records the first goal of the contest.
Forward Matt Calvert on the team's recent success: "I would say getting reinforcements back, but they started this streak without a lot of us. It is commitment to defending, getting better in that area every day. That is something I think, even though we had a great start to the year, it is something we had to touch on and being shorthanded it has forced guys to be better in every area and it has made our team better as a whole."
Video: COL@MTL: Landeskog nets sweet goal in first game back
IMAGE OF THE GAME
Welcome Back, Captain.
Gabriel Landeskog and Andre Burakovksy returned to the lineup after missing time with injury. Landeskog's last game was Oct. 26 while Burakovsky last played on Nov. 27… Mark Barberio, a native of Montreal, skated in his eighth contest of the year after being a healthy scratch for the past nine outings… Calle Rosen was the Avs' lone healthy scratch... Goaltender Pavel Francouz made his ninth start of the season… Logan O'Connor was reassigned to the American Hockey League's Colorado Eagles before the contest.
Gabriel Landeskog (lower body) and Andre Burakovsky (upper body) returned from their injuries after missing 16 and three games, respectively… Nazem Kadri missed his first game of the year after suffering a lower-body injury at Toronto on Wednesday… Vladislav Kamenev missed his second game with an illness… Erik Johnson and Colin Wilson remain out with lower-body injuries.
Colorado wraps up its three-game, Atlantic Division road trip on Saturday versus the Boston Bruins at TD Garden.
Based on start of the game
96 Mikko Rantanen - 29 Nathan MacKinnon - 72 Joonas Donskoi
92 Gabriel Landeskog - 37 J.T. Compher - 95 Andre Burakovsky
11 Matt Calvert - 41 Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - 13 Valeri Nichushkin
83 Matt Nieto - 17 Tyson Jost - 36 T.J. Tynan
27 Ryan Graves - 8 Cale Makar
16 Nikita Zadorov - 49 Samuel Girard
44 Mark Barberio - 28 Ian Cole
39 Pavel Francouz
31 Philipp Grubauer