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Avs Close Out Season Series Versus Habs

by Danielle Bernstein / ColoradoAvalanche.com

The Colorado Avalanche hosts the Montreal Canadiens at Pepsi Center on Tuesday night for the second and final meeting of the 2016-17 series and the only game that will be played in the Mile High City. 

It's the second contest of a three-game homestand for Colorado and the beginning of a two-game road trip for Montreal, which is winless in its last two games and 3-5-2 over its last 10. 

The Avs are 16-8-3 overall against the Canadiens and have been stronger at home, where they're 9-2-1 in the all-time series.

 

Last Time Out

The Avalanche is coming off a 5-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday afternoon. Colorado produced its second-highest goal total of the season, getting two tallies from Matt Nieto and a goal apiece from Jarome Iginla, Nathan MacKinnon and Carl Soderberg. Matt Duchene registered a season-high three assists, matching a career best, and finished with 20 faceoff wins, the second-highest total of his career.

Montreal is coming off a 1-0 shootout loss to Edmonton on Sunday. Al Montoya stopped all 32 shots he faced in regulation and overtime, but the Oilers' Leon Draisaitl was the only scorer in the skills competition. Montreal held Edmonton scoreless on four power-play opportunities but was outshot 32-22.

 

Last Time They Met

The Canadiens got at least one point from 15 different players--including four goals and an assist from Max Pacioretty, two tallies from Brian Flynn and four assists from Tomas Plekanec--en route to a 10-1 victory over the Avalanche on Dec. 10 at Bell Centre. Colorado trailed 6-1 after the first 20 minutes of play and was outshot 36-16 on the night. 

"We kind of buried that game. There was so much that went wrong. No. 1, we got outworked and No. 2, it was just a poor day for us as far as our execution. They made us look silly that night," said head coach Jared Bednar following Monday's practice at Family Sports Center. "My belief is with some of those games that you just have to sweep them under the rug and move on. How we responded after that I think was the most important thing. Not that we played a perfect game in Toronto by any means. They had us on the run there a little bit there too. But mentally, being fragile at that point, to be able to respond and go in and get a great game out of Varly and get a win the next day was probably the thing we were looking at most. And from then on we haven't looked back at it."

Video: Rycroft and Keefe preview Tuesday's game

What to Watch

Barberio Faces Former Team

Defenseman Mark Barberio, who was claimed off waivers by the Avalanche on Sunday, will play just his second game in the burgundy and blue against his former team. A Montreal native, Barberio spent a season and half with the Habs prior to joining the Avs. 

"I like a lot of things about him, [like] his ability to move the puck. He's a good skater," said Bednar of his team's newest addition. "To be able to help us get in and out of our zone and then also on the power play, just another puck-savvy guy that can make plays."

Montreal Power Play

The Canadiens enter Tuesday night's matchup with the fourth-ranked power play in the league at 22.6 percent. Montreal has been even better on the road with the man advantage, converting on 25.4 percent of its chances, which gives the club the third-best road power play in the NHL.

Defenseman Shea Weber leads the team with 10 power-play goals this season, which is tied for third amongst the league's skaters and first amongst defensemen.

 

Player to Watch

Colorado: Center Matt Duchene

Duchene is coming off a game in which he matched a career high with three assists and collected 20 faceoff wins, the second-highest total of his career. His 10 points (two goals, eight assists) against the Canadiens over the last five seasons leads all Avalanche skaters through that span.

Montreal: Left wing Max Pacioretty

Pacioretty currently leads the Habs with 25 goals and 44 points. He's been one of the league's hottest players over the last two months. Since Dec. 1, he's potted 20 of his 25 tallies, which ranks first in the NHL in that time frame.

 

Lineup Notes

Tyson Barrie and Rene Bourque will remain out of the lineup. Calvin Pickard will get the nod in goal, looking for his first career win against the Canadiens. He is 0-3-0 overall against Montreal, with two of those losses coming in 2014. Pickard's first career start came against the Canadiens on Oct. 18 of that year, a game in which he stopped 33 shots, but the Avs lost 3-2. He's started one contest against the Habs at Pepsi Center, a 4-3 loss on Dec. 1, 2014.

 

The Details

Tuesday night's game begins at 7 p.m., and tickets are still available. The game can be watched live on Altitude TV or heard on Altitude Sports Radio AM950 or online at ColoradoAvalanche.com.

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