Semyon Varlamov
Avalanche-Canadiens Preview
Semyon Varlamov

Avalanche-Canadiens Preview

Published Nov. 13, 2015 4:42 p.m. ET

Patrick Roy has his Colorado Avalanche off to a promising start on one of the franchise's longest road trips since its move to Denver.

The Avalanche would appear to have a considerable challenge in their attempt at a third consecutive win Saturday night against Roy's former team, facing the league-best Montreal Canadiens without captain Gabriel Landeskog.

Colorado (6-9-1) has opened the trip by winning back-to-back games for the first time this season, beating Philadelphia 4-0 on Tuesday and rallying for a 3-2 victory over Boston on Thursday. The Avalanche gave up both Bruins goals in the first six minutes but tied the game by the end of the opening period.

Matt Duchene's sixth goal in five games put them ahead for good with 13:11 remaining.


"It's hard to be confident in those times with what we've gone through, but we're fighting through and we're showing good character," Duchene said. "It was just a great team effort today. ... We need a big road trip and this is a great start."

Landeskog was ejected in the second period for an illegal hit to Bruins forward Brad Marchand's head and was suspended for two games Friday. Marchand responded by punching him in the face.

"I tried to let up and then I tried to skate up and apologize and tell him I didn't mean to come across and ... obviously he wasn't hurt with that sucker punch," Landeskog said. "I'm happy he didn't get hurt. I feel like the principle point of contact was the shoulder."

Colorado is in the midst of a seven-game trip that matches its longest since relocating from Quebec after the 1994-95 season. In their return to that province, the Avalanche will take on a Canadiens team that's 7-0-1 at home this season.

Montreal (13-2-2) is 4-0-2 in its last six overall despite playing without star goaltender Carey Price. The reigning league MVP and Vezina Trophy winner, out since Oct. 29 due to a lower-body injury, is expected to miss at least two more games.

Mike Condon has a 1.81 goals-against average in six starts during his absence but couldn't hold a third-period lead Wednesday in a 4-3 shootout loss in Pittsburgh. He gave up the tying goal with 6:25 left in regulation and couldn't stop either of the Penguins' two shootout attempts.

"(Condon) played great and gave us a chance," captain Max Pacioretty said. "He had another outstanding game and in the next game we have to play a little better in front of him."

Colorado also could still be without its regular No. 1 goaltender. Semyon Varlamov has missed the last three games with a groin injury and remains day-to-day. Backup Reto Berra has played well in his place, giving up a combined four goals.

Montreal has won the past three meetings with Colorado and each of the last two at home. P.K. Subban had three goals and one assist in last season's two-game sweep of the Avalanche.

Seven of Subban's last eight points have come on the power play, and the Canadiens have scored with the man advantage in seven consecutive games. Their last eight-game streak was Jan. 7-21, 2009.

Duchene, who has nine points in six games this month, has totaled one goal and four assists in a four-game point streak against the Canadiens.


Semyon Varlamov
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