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Avalanche win 6th straight with victory over Canadiens

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Associated Press
12/20/2010 12:26:38 AM
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DENVER -- T.J. Galiardi used his torso instead of his stick.

It worked just as well and gave him reason to puff out his chest after the game.

Galiardi broke a second-period tie with his chest bump of the puck into the net to help the Colorado Avalanche win their sixth straight game, 3-2 over the Montreal Canadiens on Sunday night.

"It was ugly but they all count," Galiardi said, grinning.

Galiardi recently returned after missing more than a month with a fractured right wrist. His presence is paying off as he has two goals in as many games.

But with this goal, even Galiardi had to shake his head at his fortune.

The puck hit him just before he tumbled into the vicinity of goalie Carey Price, along with a Canadiens defenceman and Avalanche teammate Greg Mauldin.

As Price fell back, the puck trickled through his pads and into the net.

The officials took a few moments to review the goal. Not that Galiardi was the least bit concerned.

"I knew I didn't do any motions with my hands or a high stick so I figured it would stand," Galiardi said.

And it did.

Canadiens coach Jacques Martin had no quibbles with the goal, either.

"We turned the puck (over) in the neutral zone," Martin said. "They attacked the net well and capitalized on it."

That seemed to be the case most of the night. Ryan Wilson and Kevin Porter also scored for the Avalanche, the highest-scoring team in the NHL.

Michael Cammalleri and Alexandre Picard scored for Montreal.

The Canadiens pulled Price for an extra skater with 1:08 left, but couldn't get anything past Craig Anderson, who finished with 27 saves.

Anderson was solid in net all night as he matched a career high by winning his sixth straight start. He helped the Avalanche kill a late penalty and earlier thwarted a scoring attempt from Andrei Kostitsyn, lunging out of the net and knocking the puck off Kostitsyn's stick.

"We found a way," Anderson said. "It doesn't matter if it's 3-2 or 6-5, we're finding ways to win."

The only thing Anderson was displeased with was a late slashing penalty called on him at the end as his emotions -- unlike the puck -- got away from him.

"I apologized to the ref for taking that two-minute slash. It was uncalled for," he said.

Anderson also picked up an assist on Wilson's goal in the first period on a simple dish to his defenceman.

"Sweet," Anderson said when informed of his assist. "We're getting things done on the power play and finding ways to score lots of goals. Tonight, we got three and it should be more than enough most nights. I gave my team a chance to win."

That's been happening quite a bit of late, the Avalanche turning in their longest winning streak since last January.

"We've got a good thing going," Avalanche coach Joe Sacco said. "The one thing we've got to guard against is not getting too high. We should be proud of the fact we've won six in a row, but we've got to keep on an even keel. I like the direction the team is going and the way we played tonight."

The Canadiens began their seven-game road swing on the wrong foot. But they're not looking too deeply into this loss.

"The anger and frustration lies in the fact that this group of guys expects to win hockey games," Cammalleri said.

The injury-riddled Avalanche are steadily mending as Paul Stastny returned to the lineup Sunday after missing a game with an upper back injury.

Galiardi's also regaining the strength in his wrist. He may not have a firm handshake yet, but his shot remains lethal.

And then there's always the chest bump.

"It feels great to come back and make an impact," said Galiardi, who missed 17 games with the injury. "That's what I tried to envision when I was out. We got two wins in my two games back so I'm pretty happy. There are a few things I still need to work on and getting the rust out a bit, but two wins is what we wanted."

NOTES: This was the only meeting between the two teams in 2010-11. ... Avs F Ryan O'Reilly had two assists. ... The Avs announced before the game that D Kyle Quincey will need season-ending shoulder surgery. ... Colorado is 7-0-0 against Northeast Division teams in the last two seasons.

Avalanche celebrate  (Photo: Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)

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(Photo: Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)
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