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Game Preview : Avalanche @ Canadiens

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens

AVALANCHE (1-3-1) @ CANADIENS (4-1-0)

The Canadiens will look to continue their impressive start to the season on Saturday night when the Colorado Avalanche stop by the Bell Centre.

In their most recent game, the Habs celebrated their home opener in style on Thursday night, with a 6-4 win over the Boston Bruins. In their first game in front of the home crowd, Jiri Sekac and Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau each notched their first goals in bleu-blanc-rouge, with Parenteau lighting the lamp twice after backhanding the insurance marker into an open net to close out the evening. The line of Brendan Gallagher (2G, 1A), David Desharnais (2A) and Max Pacioretty (1G, 2A) continued their offensive assault in the outing, combining for 10 shots and eight points against Boston. Carey Price made 25 stops to win his third game in four starts in 2014-15.

The Avalanche were also in action on Thursday, taking part in their third game in four nights, this time facing off against the Senators in Ottawa. Despite heading into the first intermission riding a 3-1 lead, the Avs saw their cushion slowly slip away, with the Sens managing to pot four unanswered goals over the next two periods to finish with a 5-3 win. Alex Tanguay, John Mitchell and Gabriel Landeskog scored for Colorado, in what was a fourth loss for the team in five games so far this season.

After losing his starting netminder in Semyon Varlamov earlier this week, head coach Patrick Roy also saw his backup goalie, Reto Berra, succumb to injury at the start of the game in Ottawa. Rookie Calvin Pickard made his NHL debut in replacement, finishing the game between the pipes. Given that Berra wasn't able to recover from his neck injury in time for Saturday night, Pickard will get to enjoy his first NHL start against the Habs and will be backed up by AHL call-up, Sami Aittokallio.  The Canadiens’ starter is a little more clear, as Price will be given the nod against the Avs, looking to build on his 1-2-1 record against Colorado in his career.

While they each had a chance to face their respective former teams during the preseason after being swapped this summer, Parenteau and Daniel Briere will get to do so for the first time in the regular season on Saturday night. The new Habs forward has exploded out of the gate to start the season with five points in as many games, while Briere has just one goal and an assist in his first five starts. His lone goal was a milestone marker, as it was the 300th of his NHL career.

Saturday’s game will be the first of two between the Habs and Avs this season, with the other tilt scheduled for early December in Denver. The last time the Avalanche left the Bell Centre with a win dates back to the 2011-12 campaign, currently owning a 4-6-2 lifetime record in 12 visits to Montreal since moving to Colorado.

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