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Canadiens seek rebound effort in clash with Avs

The Montreal Canadiens will try to bounce back from a disappointing home opener when they host the streaking Colorado Avalanche this evening at the Bell Centre.

The Canadiens split a pair of road games to open their 2011-12 schedule, but on Thursday were dealt a 4-1 setback by the Calgary Flames in Montreal. That loss came in the first of three straight on home ice for the Habs, who will close the residency Tuesday against Buffalo.

Montreal allowed two goals to Rene Bourque in Thursday's loss and could only get one shot past Flames goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff. Andrei Kostitsyn had the lone goal for the Canadiens, who got just 17 saves from Carey Price.

"We have to be better," said Canadiens center Tomas Plekanec. "Our power play has to be better with cycling and putting the puck on the net ... just basic things we have to improve upon in future games."

The Canadiens have already been bitten by the injury bug, as forwards Mike Cammalleri and Ryan White and defensemen Andrei Markov, Jaroslav Spacek and Chris Campoli are all currently sidelined. None of those players are expected to play in tonight's contest.

Montreal had a solid 24-11-6 record as the home club last season and will try to even this year's record at the Bell Centre with a win tonight.

The Avalanche, meanwhile, enter this evening having won three games in a row -- all on the road -- since a loss to Detroit in their home and season opener.

Colorado's latest triumph came Thursday in Ottawa, as the Avalanche routed the Senators by a 7-1 score. Joakim Lindstrom notched two goals to lead the Avs to the blowout victory at Scotiabank Place.

Daniel Winnik and David Jones each had a goal while Matt Duchene, Milan Hejduk and Gabriel Landeskog all had a goal and an assist for the Avalanche, who last won three straight during a six-game tear from Dec. 10-19 of last season.

"I think the guys did everything they could tonight to play up to their capabilities," Colorado head coach Joe Sacco said. "We had a good group effort tonight."

Jean-Sebastien Giguere made his Colorado debut and stopped 15-of-16 shots for the win. Giguere, a former Conn Smythe winner and Stanley Cup champion with Anaheim, signed a two-year deal with the Avs this summer. He is expected to serve primarily as a backup to Semyon Varlamov, who started the first three games of the year for Colorado.

The Avs, who will close a five-game road trip Monday in Toronto, were just 14-23-4 as the visiting team last season.

Colorado has taken the last two meetings with the Habs, but the clubs have split the last six encounters overall. The Avs are 1-2-0 with a tie in their last four trips to Montreal.