MONTREAL (AP) — P.K. Subban and the Montreal Canadiens spoiled Colorado Avalanche goalie Calvin Pickard’s first NHL start.
Subban twice in Montreal’ 3-2 victory Saturday night.
“You see him on TV all the time,” Pickard said about Subban. “He’s a special talent, and you saw that on the third goal. He dangled me pretty good.”
Alex Galchenyuk had a goal and an assist, and Carey Price made 32 saves to help the Canadiens improve to 5-1-0.
Pickard made 33 saves, and Alex Tanguay and Matt Duchene scored for Colorado. The Avalanche went 1-2-1 on their trip to drop to 1-4-1.
“It was crazy,” Pickard said. “Playing at the Bell Centre, coming out to that music. You watch it on TV all the time. It’s special. And to be in the net starting at the other end against Carey Price, it’s a pretty cool feeling. It was a good experience for me, but not the result we wanted.”
The Avalanche turned to Pickard after Semyon Varlamov aggravated a groin injury and backup Reto Berra was hurt in Thursday night in a 5-3 loss to Ottawa.
“We had a lot of confidence in him,” Colorado coach Patrick Roy said. “We didn’t show any panic in our decisions. He’s the reason we had a chance to come back in that game.
“I thought both goaltenders were outstanding. Carey Price made several good saves. In the second period, we calculated we had 10 good scoring chances and out of 10, seven of them missed the net. We have to make the goalie work a little more. At least put the pucks on the net.”
Colorado opened the scoring 2:23 in on a give-and-go on a rush when John Mitchell dropped a pass to Tanguay for a shot into an open side.
Pickard stopped his first 20 shots, but the Canadiens scored three times on the next eight, twice from players coming out of the penalty box.
Subban scored on a blast from the left point on a power play at 4:13 of the second. Galchenyuk jumped from the box to strip Nathan MacKinnon of the puck and went in alone on Brandon Prust’s feed to chip one over Pickard with 8:37 to go. Subban came out the box to get Lars Eller’s pass and, when Tyson Barrie fell, had all the time he wanted to put a deke on Pickard and slide in his second of the game with 2:01 left in the period.
“I was still ticked off that I took a penalty,” Subban said. “I’m taking penalties every game. It’s fine now, we’re winning, but I’ve got to stay out of the box. It’s great to get the goal, but if you’re going to be a leader on the team, you have to set the example. I haven’t done a good job of that. But I’m obviously happy to get the goal.”
Duchene scored the only goal in the third.
NOTES: The Canadiens sat out Dale Weise and Nathan Beaulieu for a second straight game. … Canadiens equipment manager Pierre Gervais was honored for his 2,500th game. He also worked for Team Canada at the Olympics. He was presented with a jersey with the No. 2,500. … Sami Aittokallio, recalled Friday from the American Hockey League’s Lake Erie Monsters, backed up Pickard. Roy said this week that Varlamov’s groin injury does not appear to be long term, although he’s on injured reserve.