(SportsNetwork.com) – Suddenly depleted in net, the Colorado Avalanche try to
avoid a third straight loss on Saturday night as they conclude a four-game
road trip against the Montreal Canadiens.
The road has not been kind to the Avalanche’s netminders. They placed starter
Semyon Varlamov on injured reserve Thursday due to a groin injury and then saw
backup Reto Berra leave just 2:46 into that night’s game against the Ottawa
Calvin Pickard, earlier recalled from Lake Erie of the American Hockey League,
made 23 saves on 27 shots faced in his NHL debut as Colorado lost 5-3.
Alex Tanguay, John Mitchell and Gabriel Landeskog all scored first-period
goals for the Avalanche, but the Senators scored three times in the third
period to spoil Pickard’s debut.
“Pick made some big saves when we needed them and it’s too bad we couldn’t get
the win for him,” said Avs forward Matt Duchene.
It marked the second straight game that Colorado blew a third-period lead as
they were up by a goal on Tuesday at Toronto before losing 3-2 in overtime.
The Avalanche were forced to recall Sami Aittokallio from Lake Erie and he’ll
likely backup Pickard tonight as Colorado concludes a stretch of five of six
on the road to open the season.
Montreal, meanwhile, opened the campaign with a 3-1-0 road trip and then won
its home opener 6-4 over rival Boston on Thursday. It was the first meeting
between the clubs since the Canadiens eliminated the Bruins in seven games
during last season’s Eastern Conference semifinals.
Brendan Gallagher and P.A. Parenteau both scored twice, while Max Pacioretty
had a goal and two assists.
“One shot just hit me, but playing with these guys, it’s just easy,” Gallagher
Jiri Sekac added his first career goal, David Desharnais and Alexei Emelin had
two assists each and Carey Price made 25 saves in the win.
The Habs, who continue a four-game homestand, snapped a string of four
straight losses to the Avalanche with a 6-3 win at home in the most recent
encounter on March 18 of last season.