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Avalanche coach Roy returns to Montreal

by Arpon Basu

AVALANCHE (44-19-5) at CANADIENS (37-25-7)


Last 10: Colorado 7-3-0; Montreal 5-4-1

Season series: The Colorado Avalanche defeated the Montreal Canadiens 4-1 at home in the only game between the teams this season. Montreal native Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 29 saves for the Avalanche and is expected to get the start again Tuesday.

Big story: Avalanche coach Patrick Roy will be in the spotlight; the former Canadiens goalie will coach his first NHL game in Montreal. Roy will try to focus on helping the Avalanche earn an eighth win in 10 games, but he knows that may be difficult.

"I tried to have a simple approach to this game," Roy said. "I don't want to put myself ahead of the players, I want to stay at the same level as them. I'm trying just to focus on coming here and seeing our players play a great game.

"It's not about me, it's about them."

Team scope:

Avalanche: The Avalanche are coming off a 3-1 win against the Ottawa Senators on Sunday in the first of three straight games on the road against Canadian teams.

The Avalanche have a one-point lead on the Chicago Blackhawks for second place in the Central Division standings and sit eight points behind the first-place St. Louis Blues. Colorado's only losses in the past nine games came against the Blues and the Anaheim Ducks, two of the three teams ahead of the Avalanche in the Western Conference.

The Avalanche's special teams have been particularly strong of late, going 4-for-10 on the power and 9-for-9 on the penalty kill over the past three games.

Canadiens: The Canadiens are coming off a weekend they hope will be a turning point of their season. Montreal erased a three-goal deficit in the final four minutes of regulation to win 5-4 in overtime against the Ottawa Senators on Saturday and followed that up a day later with a 2-0 on the road against the Buffalo Sabres.

Montreal is in a three-way race for the final two guaranteed Stanley Cup Playoff spots in the Atlantic Division, with one point separating them, the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Playing a top opponent like the Avalanche will be a difficult challenge, but it is one goaltender Carey Price is looking forward to.

"Patrick Roy is obviously a special player," Price told the Canadiens website Monday. "He was one of my favorite goalies growing up, and he was the favorite of many in my generation. It'll be great to have a chance to play against him, even if it's indirectly."

Who's hot: Avalanche center John Mitchell has three goals and two assists in his past four games, and left wing Jamie McGinn has two goals and two assists in his past three. … Canadiens center David Desharnais has two goals and two assists in his past three games.

Injury report: Avalanche center Paul Stastny returns after missing the past four games with an upper-body injury. Forwards PA Parenteau (knee) and Alex Tanguay (hip) are out… Canadiens forward Michael Bournival was sent to Hamilton of the American Hockey League on a conditioning stint after recovering from a concussion. Defenseman Josh Gorges is out with a broken left hand.

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