DENVER – Jarome Iginla broke a tie with 2:03 left with his second goal of the game in the Colorado Avalanche’s 3-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday night.
Iginla nearly had another goal in the second period, but it was waved off for goaltender interference. He has 17 goals this season to push his career total to 606.
The winner was set up when Montreal defenceman P.K. Subban fell down near the blue line. On an odd-man-rush, Matt Duchene sent a pass over Mikhail Grigorenko, who then found a wide open Iginla in front of the net.
Erik Johnson also added a short-handed goal for the Avalanche, who picked up a needed home win. They’re 1-3-1 at the Pepsi Center over their last five games.
Andrei Markov and Lars Eller scored for the Canadiens as they finish winless on a three-game trip.
Montreal pulled Ben Scrivens for an extra attack with just over a minute remaining. But the Canadiens couldn’t get anything past Semyon Varlamov.
Varlamov had the save of the night with around six minutes left, when he stuck out his right skate just in time to keep Devante Smith-Pelly from poking in a shot.
Iginla had a goal disallowed on an arguable call at 13:51 of the second period. Iginla stopped in front of Scrivens and appeared to graze the goaltender after some contact with a defenceman. Scrivens went flying back as the puck glided in front of the net. Iginla reached over and knocked it in.
As the Avalanche celebrated, the referees waved off the goal and sent Iginla to the penalty box for goaltender interference.
Nearly three minutes later, Iginla scored again on a power play to tie it at 2. This time, there was no uncertainty.
With 606 career goals, Iginla movesd within two of tying Dino Ciccarelli for 17th on the career list.
Johnson scored a short-handed goal early in the second period, only to have the Canadiens come right back and capitalize on a mistake by Varlamov. The Avalanche goaltender wandered too far out of the net to chase a loose puck and couldn’t scramble back in time, leading to Eller’s goal.
In the opening period, the third odd-man-rush proved to be a charm for Montreal as Markov beat Varlamov with a wrist shot. Moments before that, Lucas Lessio shot the puck wide on a breakaway and moments before that Brendan Gallagher was thwarted by Varlamov’s glove during a 3-on-1 opportunity.
Colorado juggled its lines for this game, placing Duchene back at centre with Grigorenko and Iginla. Jack Skille also was back on the ice after missing five games due to a concussion. He was paired with Nathan MacKinnon and Alex Tanguay.
The thrill of facing his old team never completely fades for coach Patrick Roy, who won two Stanley Cup titles with Montreal before being traded to Colorado and capturing two more. The Hall of Fame goaltender has his sweater retired by both organizations.
“It’s always fun to play your ex-team,” Roy said after morning practice. “But we’re in a playoff race right now. This is where my focus is more than anything else.”
NOTES: Markov scored his fourth goal of the season. … Montreal scratched centre David Desharnais and former Avalanche forward Tomas Fleischmann. … The Avs start a two-game trip Saturday in Edmonton. … Iginla played in his 1,452nd game to take over sole possession of 22nd place on the career list.
© 2016 The Associated Press