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Avalanche lean on 4-goal opening frame to throttle slumping Canadiens

Avalanche lean on 4-goal opening frame to throttle slumping Canadiens

Artturi Lehkonen scored his 99th and 100th career goals in his first game back at the Bell Centre as the Colorado Avalanche grabbed a 8-4 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Monday.

Valeri Nichushkinhad a goal and two assists, while Bowen Byram, Matt Nieto, Mikko Rantanen, J.T. Compher and Nathan MacKinnon also scored for Colorado (36-22-6). Cale Makar collected three assists.

Alexandar Georgiev made 15 saves.

Josh Anderson had a goal and an assist, while Denis Gurianov, Jesse Ylonen and Mike Matheson scored as Montreal (26-35-6) slipped to a seven-game winless skid (0-5-2). Nick Suzuki added two assists.

Jake Allen allowed six goals on 15 shots before being pulled in the second period. Sam Montembeault made 16 saves in relief.

The defending Stanley Cup champions took a four-goal lead off of their first eight shots in the first period.

WATCH | Avs’ Lehkonen strikes twice, reaching career 100-goal milestone:

Avalanche’s Lehkonen scores in return to Montreal

Colorado’s Artturi Lehkonen records the 100th goal of his career as he scores his second of the opening period against his former team. Lehkonen was traded by Canadiens to the Avalanche in March of 2022.

Logan O’Connor’s wrist shot from the blue line beat Allen 2:59 into the game. The goal was later awarded to Lehkonen who redirected the shot.

Byram easily made his way around Kaiden Guhle and found the Avalanche’s second of the game 6:09 into the opening frame.

Nieto pierced through Montreal’s defence, waited for Allen to make the first move and beat the netminder ess than two minutes later. Former Hab Lars Eller collected his first Avalanche point on the goal.

Lehkonen scored his first goal back at the Bell Centre shortly after a video celebrating his time in Montreal was shown on the big screen midway through the first period. The Finn redirected a shot from Rantanen in front of the net and was met with a cheer from the crowd.

Montreal saved their honour with a late first-period goal. Anderson deflected a shot from Jonathan Kovacevic for his 20th goal of the season.

Colorado got right back to their scoring ways 2:48 into the second when Rantanen hopped on Allen’s rebound to tap in his 43rd of the campaign.

Compher took a page out of his teammate’s book and also capitalized a rebound, giving Colorado a five-goal advantage. Habs coach Martin St. Louis pulled Allen for Sam Montembeault following the goal.

Gurianov scored his second goal in as many games with a wrister from the right faceoff circle on the power play…

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