MONTREAL – Montreal goaltender Carey Price didn’t think he was nearly good enough to earn his 100th career win.
Milan Hejduk scored the winner and David Jones had a pair of goals as the Colorado Avalanche beat the Canadiens 6-5 Saturday. The Avalanche have now won 13 of their last 14 shootouts.
Afterwards Price thought he could have done more to keep the Canadiens in the game.
“There was at least three pucks that should have stayed out, I thought in my mind,” Price said.
“I thought the guys played well and deserved better,” he added. “It was a tough one for me tonight, obviously, with five goals. I wish I would have played better but at least we got a point out of it. We can move forward with that.”
Chuck Kobasew, Paul Stastny and Kyle Quincey also scored for Colorado (4-1-0). Semyon Varlamov stopped 38 shots for his third win.
“It was a weird one,” said Avalanche forward Matt Duchene. “It was kind of all bundled up in the middle of the ice for most of the game, nothing really happening, and then all of a sudden somebody would go down and score. It was like every chance someone got, it would end up in the net.”
Max Pacioretty, Tomas Plekanec, Travis Moen, Brian Gionta and David Desharnais replied for Montreal (1-2-1). Price made 25 saves in suffering his third loss of the season.
The Canadiens weren’t without their chances over the course of the night, bombarding Varlamov with 43 shots. They hit double digits in the first and third periods but mustered just six in the middle frame.
“It’s disappointing to lose by a point because we had a good effort. We beat ourselves with mistakes,” said Jacques Martin. “But I liked the way we played with passion tonight, more determination. We drove to the net with authority and scored five goals so it’s a good sign.”
While the Canadiens head coach was pleased with the determination his team showed in rallying back from deficits, the lack of team play at times left him less than enthused.
“You win as a team and you lose as a team but you’ve always got to remember the team’s got to be first,” he said.
Defence and special teams continued to be an issue for Montreal, which gave up a pair of power play goals, including the equalizer late in the third period. Both times, they had chances to clear the puck.
“It’s something we take pride in, killing penalties, and obviously we’ve got to do a better job of that. Power plays are so good nowadays, you’ve got to be good on the penalty kill,” said Moen, who scored his second in three games.
Kobasew and Pacioretty exchanged goals in the first period. Plekanec gave the Canadiens their first lead of the night on a five-on-three at the early in the second. It was just the second power play goal Montreal has scored this season.
The lead would exchange hands three more times the rest of the night. The Canadiens thought they had it in the bag when Gionta and Desharnais each notched their first of the season 20 seconds apart midway through the third.
“We like the way we drove the net, we got pucks on net, lots of shots–that’s a positive,” Moen said. “But there are some things we need to work on on the penalty kill and defensively we’ve got to be a lot better.”
Notes: The game marked the return of former Canadiens defenceman Ryan O’Byrne, who was traded to the Avalanche on November 11, 2010.…Montreal defenceman Raphael Diaz recorded his first NHL point, an assist on Pacioretty’s goal…The Canadiens were without Michael Cammalleri (lower body) and Jaroslav Spacek (upper body).