Colorado goaltender Craig Anderson foils Canadiens centreman Tomas Plekanec from close in during the Habs’ 3-2 loss Sunday night to the Avalanche in Denver.
Michael Martin, NHLI via Getty Images
• At a Glance: The Canadiens began their seven-game, season’s-longest road trip with a loss Sunday night, falling 3-2 to the Colorado Avalanche in Denver. The teams exchanged first-period power-play goals, Montreal’s Mike Cammalleri opening the scoring with a pretty one-timer on a pass from centre Tomas Plekanec at 10:50; Colorado’s Ryan Wilson tied it with 5.5 seconds left on a screened point blast that Montreal goalie Carey Price never saw. Canadiens’ defenceman Alexandre Picard pinched in to rap home a power-play rebound of a shot by Scott Gomez at 2:58 of the second, but Avs’ Kevin Porter got that back just 1:03 later, the game’s first 5-on-5 goal coming on a weak backhand that slipped past Price’s right pad. Price made a handful of outstanding saves with the game tied, but poor defensive coverage in front of the net and a bouncing puck off a rebound caromed past the goalie off the body of Avs’ T.J. Galiardi at 16:12 to give the hosts their first lead of the contest. It would prove to be the game-winner.
• Key Moments: The weird winning goal and the Avalanche, winners of six straight, resisting good Montreal pressure in the third period, especially in the game’s final minute. It was a triumphant night for former Canadien Ryan O’Byrne, playing his first game against the Habs.
• What It Means: The Canadiens ended a three-game losing streak on Thursday at home to Boston but couldn’t make it two straight. The Habs remain two points ahead of the Northeast Division’s second-place Boston Bruins, with idle Boston holding two games in hand.
• What’s Next: The Canadiens were to charter out of Denver at midnight Montreal time, flying to Dallas where they’ll take on the Stars Tuesday night. The Habs will wrap up the pre-Christmas portion of their road trip with a game Thursday in Raleigh, N.C., vs. the Carolina Hurricanes.