AVALANCHE (3-1-0) AT CANADIENS (1-2-0)
TV: CBC, RDS (HD), ALTITUDE (HD)
Season Series: This is the only time these two teams will meet in the regular season. Last season they played just one time, a 3-2 victory for the Avalanche in Denver on Dec. 19.
Big Story: The Canadiens are itching to win a game at the Bell Centre after their home opener was spoiled by the Calgary Flames on Thursday. It may not be easy against the red-hot Avs, who have won three straight road games.
"It's good because we don't have much time to dwell on (Thursday's loss)," P.K. Subban told MontralCanadiens.com. "We've got to turn around and play a good young Colorado team Saturday."
Avalanche: Colorado is looking to protect its perfect road record after rolling through Boston, Columbus and Ottawa so far on a season-long five-game trip.
It took Colorado just one goal to defeat the defending Stanley Cup Champions in Boston. In fact, the Colorado offense has increased its production in every game so far this season from zero goals on opening night, to one goal against the Bruins, three against the Blue Jackets and finally to seven goals against the Senators in a 7-1 win on Thursday night.
Colorado went 4-for-6 on the man-advantage on Thursday night and made Jean-Sebastien Giguere's first start in net for the Avs an easy one by outshooting Ottawa 39-16. Semyon Varlamov figures to be back in goal, as he was for the Avs' first three games this season.
"Especially on the back end of back-to-back games, we talked about wanting to keep our energy level up, using four lines and six D, and we did that." coach Joe Sacco told the Denver Post. "We spent a lot of time in their zone, and it was a complete effort for 60 minutes. And we got our power play going (Thursday), which will help our confidence going forward."
Canadiens: It wasn't the home-opener the Canadiens had in mind. In fact, coach Jacques Martin said of the 4-1 loss to the Calgary Flames that: "We self-destructed."
After watching his team lose two of its first three games, Martin opted to shake up the lines in practice on Friday. He tweaked the power play unit by moving Tomas Plekanec from the point to the half-wall after the Canadiens went 0-for-4 with the man advantage against the Flames. Lars Eller was moved up to the second line, where he will skate with Plekanec and Erik Cole. Travis Moen, Scott Gomez, and Brian Gionta skated on the top line in Friday's practice.
"It's always tough for a coach to make all these decisions and decide what works best," Martin said. "It would obviously be easier if each night, everyone gave their 100 percent and all the pieces fell into place."
Who's Hot: Avs rookie Gabriel Landeskog, the second player picked in the Entry Draft in June, has goals in back-to-back games.
Injury Report: The Avalanche have placed forward Mark Olver (head) and forward Brandon Yip (arm) on injured reserve … For Montreal, forward Michael Cammalleri (right leg laceration) and defenseman Jaroslav Spacek (upper body) are out. Defensemen Chris Campoli (leg) and Andrei Markov (knee surgery) are a long time from returning.
Stat Pack: Montreal goaltender Carey Price is one away from his 100th career win. … If Colorado wins on Saturday it would be the first time the club has opened 4-0-0 on the road in 26 years.
Puck Drop: "We knew the Flames wanted to spoil our party like we did in Winnipeg," Montreal defenseman Yannick Weber said. "With Colorado it's our chance to show our fans that Thursday was just a little slow."