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Roy to coach Avalanche for first time vs. Canadiens

by Sean McCullen

CANADIENS (8-6-0) at AVALANCHE (11-1-0)


Last 10: Montreal 6-4-0 ; Colorado 9-1-0

Season series: This is the first of two meetings between the Montreal Canadiens and Colorado Avalanche. They will meet again March 18 at Bell Centre. The teams have not played in more than two years; the Avalanche beat the Canadiens 6-5 in a shootout Oct. 15, 2011.

Big story: It's the first game behind the bench for Avalanche coach Patrick Roy against the team with which he won the Stanley Cup and the Conn Smythe Trophy in 1986 and 1993. The Hall of Fame goalie spent the first 10 1/2 seasons of his career with the Canadiens; he was traded to Colorado, where he also won the Cup twice, in the middle of the 1995-96 season.

The game will pit one of the NHL's best power-play units against its best penalty-killing unit. Colorado leads the League on the penalty kill at 92.7 percent , while Montreal is fifth on the power play at 23.6 percent.

Team Scope:

Canadiens: Montreal began a two-game trip with a 4-3 loss to the Minnesota Wild on Friday. The defeat snapped a two-game winning streak for the Canadiens, who will play their second straight on the road in Denver before returning to Bell Centre on Tuesday against the St. Louis Blues.

The Canadiens rallied from a 3-1 deficit to tie the game on Brian Gionta' s fourth goal of the season, but Jason Pominville beat Carey Price to win it for Minnesota with 5:28 remaining in the third.

Gionta lamented his team's inconsistent play.

"We didn't play a full game," the Canadiens' captain said. "We had spurts where we did it, and you saw that we were successful at that time, but this league is too tough. You've got to do it for 60 minutes to get wins."

Avalanche: Colorado beat the Dallas Stars 3-2 in overtime Friday. It was the team's fifth straight win.

Paul Stastny once again was the star Friday night for Colorado. After scoring the game-winner against the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday, Stastny wristed a shot past Dallas goalie Kari Lehtonen at 3:36 of overtime for his second goal of the game. He had opened the scoring with his third of the year at 8:22 of the first period.

"Right now, we're playing very good. We're playing solid hockey," Roy said. "We work hard. The thing that I like is before games we're always really well-prepared and we focus. When we jump on the ice, we have good starts and that's what we want."

Maxime Talbot played his first game with the Avalanche since a trade Thursday that sent Steve Downie to the Philadelphia Flyers.

Who's hot: Defenseman Andrei Markov had three assists for the Canadiens on Friday. He has eight points (one goal) and is a plus-9. … Stastny has four points (three goals) the past two games, including the two game-winners.

Injury report: Canadiens forwards Travis Moen (facial injuries) and Max Pacioretty (hamstring) are day-to-day. Defensemen Davis Drewiske (shoulder) and Alexei Emelin (knee) are out long-term recovering from surgeries. Forward Daniel Briere (concussion) is out indefinitely, and forward Brandon Prust (shoulder) is not expected to return until mid-November. … Forward Jamie McGinn (knee) is day-to-day for Colorado, which will get back Cody McLeod for the game against Montreal after he served a five-game suspension for a hit from behind on Detroit Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall.

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