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Subban scores two as Canadiens down Avs 3-2 in Pickard's first start

NHL.com @NHL

MONTREAL - P.K. Subban scored a pair of goals as the Montreal Canadiens downed the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 in a freewheeling contest on Saturday night.

Alex Galchenyuk had a goal and an assist for Montreal (5-1-0), which had a 36-34 shot advantage on Colorado and 22-year-old goalie Calvin Pickard, who was making his first NHL start.

Alex Tanguay and Matt Duchene scored for Colorado (1-4-1), which ended a four-game road trip with a 1-2-1 record.

The Avalanche found themselves in a goaltending crunch this week when Semyon Varlamov aggravated a groin injury and backup Reto Berra got hurt in a 5-3 loss in Ottawa on Thursday night.

Even with his third stringer in goal, Avalanche coach Patrick Roy did not abandoned his open, offensive style and it made for an entertaining, end-to-end game in which both Pickard and Montreal goalie Carey Price made some glittering saves.

Colorado took the lead 2:23 in on a give-and-go on a rush as John Mitchell dropped a pass to Tanguay for a shot into an open side.

Pickard stopped his first 20 shots, but the Canadiens scored three times on the next eight, twice from players coming out of the penalty box.

Subban scored on a blast from the left point on a power play at 4:13 of the second frame. Galchenyuk jumped from the box to strip Nathan MacKinnon of the puck and went in alone on a Brandon Prust feed to chip one over Pickard at 11:23.

Subban came out the box to get a Lars Eller pass and, when Tyson Barrie fell, had all the time he wanted to put a deke on Pickard and slide in his second of the game at 17:59.

Notes ??? The Canadiens sat out Dale Weise and Nathan Beaulieu for a second straight game. . . Canadiens equipment manager Pierre Gervais was honoured pre-game for his 2,500th game. He also worked for Team Canada at the Olympics. He was presented with a jersey with the number 2,500 on the back . . Sami Aittokallio, recalled Friday from the American Hockey League Lake Erie Monsters, backed up Pickard. Roy said this week that Varlamov's groin injury does not appear to be long term, although he is on injured reserve.

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