Canadiens vs. Avalanche Preview
DENVER, CO (AP) - The Colorado Avalanche continue to roll, even without several of their leading scorers. Matt Duchene is doing his best to make up for their absences.
The Avalanche will try to extend their longest winning streak of the season when they host the Montreal Canadiens on Sunday night.
Despite missing top forwards Milan Hejduk, Paul Stastny and Chris Stewart, Colorado beat Ottawa 6-5 on Friday night for its fifth straight win on Duchene's overtime goal.
According to NHL odds and oddsmakers from online sports book SBGGlobal.com have made the Avalanche -128 money line favorites for Sunday's game against the Canadiens. Current NHL Public Betting Information shows that 59% of more than 2,934 bets for this game have been placed on the Avalanche -128.
"Its just a matter of we're finding ways to win right now, thats the key," said John-Michael Liles, who had two assists. "Guys are stepping in and scoring in the absence of some pretty key players for us."
Duchene, who leads the team with 34 points, has four goals and three assists in his last three games, and 20 points in his past 14 contests.
Friday marked another comeback win for the Avalanche, who won for the eighth time this season when the opponent scores first - tied for second most in the league.
"I don't think anyone should be surprised by that now," said Duchene. "Last year we were the comeback team, and this year it seems to be the same thing."
Hejduk, third on the team with 31 points, missed his fourth consecutive game due to a groin injury, while Stastny, who has 32 points, sat out after hurting his back during a 4-3 win over Chicago on Wednesday. Both players are day-to-day and could return to face the Canadiens.
Stewart is fifth on the team with 25 points despite missing three weeks with a broken hand. He is expected to miss several more weeks.
Colorado is averaging a league-best 3.6 goals per game, but that offense has been even better lately, scoring 4.8 during the five-game win streak. The Avalanche are averaging 5.3 goals during a 6-0-1 run at home.
Craig Anderson made 24 saves against the Senators for his fifth consecutive win - one shy of his career high. Anderson has been helped by his offense, allowing at least five goals in three of his last four home starts.
Tomas Fleischmann has five goals and six assists in eight games since he was acquired from Washington on Nov. 30.
"It's a good group to be around," said Fleischmann, who has five points in his last three games versus Montreal while with the Capitals. "It's great for my career."
Montreal (19-11-2) snapped a season-high three-game slide with a 4-3 win over Boston on Thursday and will begin its longest road trip of the season against the Avalanche.
"This trip represents a big challenge for the team. Seven games on the road can be a really positive thing and a good chance for the team to build (on) the win from (Thursday) night," Michael Cammalleri told the team's official website. "We're planning on making the most of the trip, working hard and coming back home with as many points possible."
Cammalleri extended his point streak to a season-best six games with a goal against the Bruins. He has 20 points in 21 games versus the Avalanche.
Carey Price stopped 34 shots for his NHL-leading 18th win and is 6-4-0 with a 1.91 GAA on the road.
The Canadiens have lost four of five on the road and are averaging 2.2 goals as visitors compared to 2.9 at home.
Montreal had gone 0-6-1 with two ties in its last nine visits to Colorado before a 4-2 victory Feb. 13, 2009.