The Montreal Canadiens will try to stretch their winning streak to three games tonight when they welcome the Colorado Avalanche to the Bell Centre.
The Habs will be welcoming back a familiar face, as the Head Coach of the Avalanche just happens to have his number hanging in the rafters of the Bell Centre. That coach is of course legendary Canadiens goaltender Patrick Roy, who will be making his first trip back to Montreal as a visiting coach.
The Canadiens will have to keep their focus off the man behind the visiting bench, and worry more about the players he is putting on the ice. Colorado has a potent offensive attack, led by the likes of Matt Duchene, Ryan O’Reilly, Gabriel Landeskog and last year’s first overall pick Nathan MacKinnon.
They may be a young group, but they are highly skilled. The Avs are one of just six NHL teams who are averaging more than three goals per game this season, and they have the third best power play percentage as well. They will put the Canadiens fourth ranked penalty kill to the test if the Habs find themselves in the box.
Colorado also have an excellent road record this season at 21-9-2. The Habs counter that with a 19-11-5 record in Montreal this year.
Both teams enter tonight’s game having defeated the Ottawa Senators in their previous outing, although the Avs 3-1 win on Sunday night was much less exhilarating than the Canadiens comeback on Saturday night.
The Avalanche defeated the Habs in Colorado in the only previous meeting of the two teams this season. That was the battle of the backups, as Peter Budaj took the loss and J.S. Giguere was victorious in the 4-1 game. Neither backup will play tonight as Carey Price will go head to head with Semyon Varlamov.
Colorado has been excellent all season and currently have a 44-19-5 record, which has them holding off the Chicago Blackhawks for second place in the Central Division. They are locked in a battle with Chicago for home ice in the opening round of the playoffs, so look for them to be as hungry as ever for the two points tonight.
The Canadiens fell to third in the Atlantic Division when the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Vancouver Canucks last night. Montreal is just one point ahead of the Toronto Maple Leafs who are in the top wildcard slot, but have a seven point cushion on non playoff teams.