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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, November 2nd (All times Eastern)
Montreal Canadiens (8-6-0) at Colorado Avalanche (11-1-0), 10 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - Patrick Roy will face his former Montreal Canadiens team for the first time as head coach of the Colorado Avalanche when the two clubs get together on Saturday night in Denver.
Roy has the Avalanche off to an 11-1-0 beginning to the season, his first on the bench with the club, matching the best start in franchise history first set by the 1994-95 Quebec Nordiques. He'll try to lead Colorado to a sixth straight win tonight against a Canadiens team in which he began his NHL career with.
The Canadiens made Roy a third-round pick in the 1984 draft and he spent his first 10-plus seasons with Montreal before his infamous trade to Colorado in December of 1995.
During his time with the Habs, he won a pair of Conn Smythe Trophies and Stanley Cup titles in 1986 and 1993. He also won two Cups and another Conn Smythe award with the Avalanche.
The Avalanche played through some off-the-ice issues to remain hot with last night's 3-2 overtime victory in Dallas. The win allowed Colorado to match a club record with six straight road wins to begin the season.
Semyon Varlamov made 27 saves, getting the start just two days after he turned himself in and was arrested on domestic violence-related charges in Denver. He faces charges of second-degree kidnapping and third-degree assault, but is allowed to travel with the team.
"I think I am the luckiest guy in the world because I play in the NHL and I play for this team," Varlamov said. "I've got such good teammates, so I don't think about what's happening. Like I said before, no comments on that. I think I felt very comfortable today and the team and I played a good game."
Paul Stastny's second goal of the game came at the 3:36 mark of overtime, while Gabriel Landeskog also scored.
Colorado will begin a four-game homestand tonight by honoring former defenseman Adam Foote as the Avs are set to retire his No. 52 jersey prior to the game.
Foote will become the fifth player in the Avalanche's 18-year history to have his number retired, joining Joe Sakic (19), Peter Forsberg (21), Roy (33) and Ray Bourque (77). He will also mark the ninth player in club history to get the honor, joining former Quebec Nordiques skaters Peter Stastny (26), Michel Goulet (16), Marc Tardif (8) and J.C. Tremblay (3).
The 42-year-old Foote played 17 of his 19 NHL seasons with the Nordiques/Avalanche franchise, winning Stanley Cup championships in 1996 and 2001.
Montreal-born netminder Jean-Sebastien Giguere could get the start for Roy's club tonight. He has won all three of his starts this season, stopping 101- of-103 shots faced and posting two shutouts. Giguere is 7-3-0 with a tie and 2.63 goals against average in his career versus Montreal.
The Habs look to rebound after a 4-3 loss to the Minnesota Wild last night. Brian Gionta's goal with 9:47 left in the third period completed a two-goal rally for Montreal, but Minnesota's Jason Pominville scored the winner with 5:28 to go.
P.K. Subban had a goal and an assist, Brendan Gallagher scored and Andrei Markov assisted on all three goals. Carey Price allowed four goals on 25 shots.
"We didn't play a full game," Gionta said. "We had spurts where we did it and you saw that we were successful at that time, but this league is too tough. You've got to do it for 60 minutes to get wins."
Montreal is likely to have forward Max Pacioretty back in the lineup tonight. He has missed the last eight games with a hamstring injury and has two goals in five games.
Peter Budaj, meanwhile, is expected to get the start in net tonight for the Canadiens and will face his former Avalanche team for the first time.
Budaj was a second-round pick by the Avs in 2001 and played six seasons with the franchise before signing with the Habs as a free agent. A former starter for Colorado, his best season with the club came in 2006-07, when he made a career-high 57 appearances and went 31-16-6 with a 2.68 GAA and three shutouts.
The Avalanche have won three straight over the Canadiens and own 10 victories and two ties in the past 15 meetings. They have seven wins and a tie in the nine meetings in Colorado.
11/02 10:56:29 ET