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Avalanche finish strong, beat Canadiens

by Rick Sadowski

DENVER -- On a Saturday night when the Colorado Avalanche honored former defenseman Adam Foote by retiring his No. 52, the 2013-14 Avalanche extended their winning streak to six games with a 4-1 win against the Montreal Canadiens before a record Pepsi Center crowd of 18,152.

Colorado got third-period goals from rookie Nathan MacKinnon and Ryan O'Reilly 3:30 apart to break a 1-1 tie, and PA Parenteau scored into an empty net with 37.9 seconds remaining to seal it.

"It was pretty solid," Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said of his team's third-period effort. "When they made it 1-1, we just stepped our play up another notch. I thought that was great."

The Avalanche have matched the 1994-95 Quebec Nordiques for the best start in franchise history with their 12-1-0 record.

When Alex Tanguay sustained a knee injury in the second period, Roy moved MacKinnon from center on the third line to right wing on a unit with Landeskog and Paul Stastny. It paid off when Landeskog set up MacKinnon with what proved to be the game-winning goal.

"We lost Tanguay, and it was a big loss for us," Roy said. "Nate came in, we put him on the right side, and it was a great shot by Landy and a rebound by (MacKinnon). That's a big goal. It's good for his confidence, and it's good for our team."

Roy said Tanguay will undergo an MRI on Sunday or Monday to determine how serious the injury is.

MacKinnon put the Avalanche in front 2-1 at 8:01 after Landeskog, who scored in the second period, fired a hard shot while skating down the left wing. Goalie Peter Budaj made the stop, but the rebound bounced into the slot and MacKinnon knocked it into the net.

MacKinnon's second goal of the season was his first at home and first in eight games. He last scored Oct. 12 against the Washington Capitals.

"It was my first goal on home ice, and it kind of broke my mini-slump, I guess," MacKinnon said. "I was coming up the wall, and I realized that's not a spot where I'm going to score from. I tried to drive the net, and he made a kick save in our favor, I guess. It went to my stick, and I was able to put in."

O'Reilly made it 3-1 at 11:31 when he gained possession behind the Canadiens net, moved in front and slipped it behind Budaj for his first goal in five games and fourth overall.

"I was in on the forecheck and think (Canadiens defenseman) P.K. (Subban) kind of bobbled it behind the net, and it came right on my stick," O'Reilly said. "I went in front and tried to get it over the pad, and luckily it went in."

The Canadiens tied the game 1-1 on a power-play goal by Brendan Gallagher at 3:38 of the third period. Goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere stopped Subban's shot from high in the slot, but Gallagher was right in front to score on the rebound.

The goal came 35 seconds after Maxime Talbot was assessed a slashing penalty. The Avalanche had killed two previous Canadiens power plays and 22 penalties in a row covering parts of six games.

"I thought we played well," Subban said. "I thought they came out strong. We knew they were going to come out strong. You know, it was a special night for them, and we knew they were going to come out hard, but I thought we weathered the storm early. We gave ourselves an opportunity to win the game, but we have to bear down with 10 minutes left in the game. Whatever time's left, we have to make sure that pucks get out, we're taking guys in front, and it didn't happen for us tonight."

The Avalanche took a 1-0 lead at 11:14 of the second period on a goal by Landeskog, who has scored all five of his goals in the past seven games.

Landeskog scooped up the puck just outside the Canadiens blue line, skated into the left faceoff circle and hammered a shot over Budaj's right shoulder.

"I just came off the bench and the puck popped out to me, and I just wanted to let it rip," Landeskog said. "I hadn't had too many shots in the game before that, so I just wanted to get some pucks at the net and get it going. I don't know if it got tipped or not, but I got it where I wanted it."

Giguere, playing his first game at home, finished with 29 saves for his fourth win in as many starts. He's allowed a total of three goals and owns a 0.75 goals-against average and a .977 save percentage.

"We made it a point that goaltending would not be an issue this year," he said. "So far, so good. Hopefully we can keep this going."

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