MONTREAL (AP) -- Like his career in Montreal, Jose Theodore's
first game against the Canadiens started off strong before ending
Sheldon Souray had two goals and two assists and Chris Higgins
scored Montreal's fourth power-play goal midway through the third,
leading the Canadiens to an 8-5 win over the Colorado Avalanche on
Saturday night in Theodore's return to the Bell Centre.
Higgins scored his fifth of the season 10:55 into the third,
tapping a loose puck behind Theodore and over the goal line to put
Montreal ahead 6-5.
"I'm sure coming in here was special for him, but for us it's
just another game and he's just another goalie," Souray said.
The sold-out crowd of 21,273 chanted "Theo! Theo!" after Alex
Kovalev scored his third of the season at 12:48, then cheered
loudly once again as Mike Johnson made it a three-goal lead at
13:54 on the Canadiens' fifth goal of the period.
"I heard it all game," Theodore said. "I pretty much expected
Craig Rivet came out of the penalty box and beat Theodore on a
breakaway earlier in the period to give Montreal -- which trailed
3-0 in the first -- its first lead at 5-4.
"I don't know where that one came from," Saku Koivu said of
Rivet's finishing of his breakaway pass. "I can tell that he was
happy. It was a good one."
Colorado's Andrew Brunette scored his second goal of the game
8:43 into the third to tie the score at 5.
"I don't think it's the right thing to do," Brunette said of
crowd's treatment of Theodore and Avalanche defenseman Patrice
Brisebois, a member of the Canadiens last Stanley Cup-winning team
in 1993 who also returned to Montreal for the first time.
"I think they played well for them all those years and they
were lucky to have them. If that's the way they feel about those
guys, then shame on them."
Joe Sakic had a goal and an assist to move within three points
of 1,500 for his career, and Paul Stastny scored his first career
goal. Tyler Arnason also scored for the Avalanche.
Souray had points on four straight goals as the Canadiens
recovered from scores by Sakic, Brunette and Stastny 1:15 apart in
the first to tie it at 4 early in the third.
"These are games that build character, that build confidence,"
Souray said. "It sends a message, to ourselves, really, that we
can be down in games and not be out."
Souray scored his first of two power-play goals 17:20 into the
first before adding his second 4:22 into the second to draw the
Canadiens to within 3-2.
Arnason got his third goal at 6:26, before Souray drew an assist
on Sergei Samsonov's second goal at 9:23 to make it 4-3.
Traded to Colorado for David Aebischer in a deadline deal on
March 8, Theodore allowed five third-period goals to the delight of
his former fans.
The 2001-02 league MVP, who had 23 shutouts with the Canadiens,
was greeted with boos from the crowd when he led the Avalanche onto
the ice prior to the game.
Brisebois, a frequent target of boos during his 14 seasons in
Montreal, was booed when his assist was announced on Arnason's
goal, as well as every time he touched the puck throughout the
Stastny changed uniform numbers from No. 62 to No. 26. D
John-Paul Liles gave him the number which was worn by Hall of Famer
Peter Stastny, Paul's father, during his career with the Quebec
Nordiques, who retired the number in his honor prior to the
franchise's move to Denver. "I was grateful to John-Michael for
handing down his jersey to me," Stastny said. "I felt honored to
wear the same number as my old man did." ... Liles switched to No.
4, previously worn by his idol and former teammate Rob Blake. ...
Each of Souray's team-leading five goals have come on the power
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
Arena: Bell Centre Location: Montreal, Quebec
Referees: Don Koharski, Justin St. Pierre Linesmen: Steve Miller, Mark Shewchyk
Attendance: 21,273 (100.0% full)
Team Stat Comparison
Power Play Goals
Power Play Opportunities
Shots on Goal
Joe Sakic (4)
Assists: Marek Svatos, Patrice Brisebois
Andrew Brunette (1)
Assists: Joe Sakic, Marek Svatos
Paul Stastny (1)
Assist: Milan Hejduk
Sheldon Souray (4)
(Power Play) Assists: Andrei Markov, Michael Ryder
Sheldon Souray (5)
(Power Play) Assists: Mike Johnson, Radek Bonk