The Associated Press
DENVER–Gabriel Landeskog got the chance to celebrate his goal a second time–after a big sigh of relief.
He thought his score would count despite a challenge for goaltender interference.
But really he wasn’t sure. It’s hard to be completely sure.
The Colorado captain broke a tie 35 seconds into the third period by batting in a goal, and Philipp Grubauer stopped 35 shots, as the Avalanche nipped the Montreal Canadiens 2-1 last night.
“It was one of those that could have gone either way,” Landeskog admitted.
That’s what infuriated goalie Carey Price and the Canadiens.
Landeskog’s initial shot bounced off the chest of Price and the forward knocked it in out of midair as he and Montreal’s Jonathan Drouin crashed into Price.
Landeskog celebrated as the Canadiens challenged that it was goaltender interference.
The goal was upheld on replay and Landeskog celebrated again by tossing down his water bottle in exuberance.
“I disagree with the call,” Price said.
His coach had his back.
“It’s 50-50 now,” said Claude Julien, who coached his 300th game with Montreal. “Anytime we challenge a call, we know we say, ‘We’re tossing a coin here.’
“We have no idea how they’re going to call it.
“What we saw was the initial collision was Landeskog and our goaltender, which if there’s not that collision, he freezes the puck,” Julien noted.
“They can look at the second one and say our guy pushed our goaltender even further, but that’s after the original collision.
“That’s why our goaltender doesn’t agree with the call,” he added. “That’s why I support him on that.”
Price is even more confused about the rule.
“I don’t know what it is. I just think if your ability is impeded to make a move to the puck, I think it’s pretty clear,” said Price, whose team started a six-game trip that’s broken up by the holiday break.
“They had a different opinion on the contact.”
Mikko Rantanen had a goal and an assist to give him an NHL-leading 58 points.
He’s followed by teammate Nathan MacKinnon, who has 55 points after a two-assist evening.
Landeskog, the third member of their high-flying line, scored his team-best 23rd goal.
Price, who stopped 24 shots, came up short in his bid for his 300th career victory. He’s trying to become the 35th goalie to reach that milestone.
Brendan Gallagher had a power-play goal for Montreal, breaking the Canadiens’ 0-for-25 dry spell with the man advantage.
Grubauer, meanwhile, only got stronger throughout the night in improving to 8-0-3 over his last 11 starts.
He started in place of a struggling Semyon Varlamov.
Elsewhere in the NHL, Pittsburgh edged Washington 2-1.