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Canadiens torch Theodore in return to Montreal

Oct 22, 2006 - 1:51 AM MONTREAL (Ticker) -- Never before have Montreal Canadiens fans been so happy to watch Jose Theodore surrender eight goals in a game.

In his return to Montreal, Theodore endured one of the ugliest performances of his career as the Colorado Avalanche dropped an 8-5 decision to the Canadiens.

The Hart and Vezina Trophy winner in 2002, Theodore won 141 games in 10 seasons for the Canadiens before fracturing his heel in January. Two months later, he was traded to the Avalanche for netminder David Aebischer.

"I was nervous before the game, but after a couple of saves I felt better," Theodore said.

He certainly wasn't feeling very good in the third period, when Christopher Higgins, Alexei Kovalev and Mike Johnson scored in a three-minute span to turn a 5-5 tie into a one-sided finish against their old friend.

"These are games that are important to build character, that build confidence, that send a message to ourselves that we can get behind in a game and not be out of it," said Canadiens defenseman Sheldon Souray, who scored two goals and added two assists. "We fell asleep a bit there and they got a couple of goals on us, but we stuck with it and it was a total team effort tonight."

Theodore went the distance in his return, finishing with 28 saves. The 30-year-old was booed during introductions, as well as whenever he played the puck, but insisted the rude reception had nothing to do with his poor performance.

"I wasn't surprised by the reaction of the fans," he said. "It's not the first time I've been booed. It's the same when I go to Boston or New York."

Aebischer, who entered with a league-best 1.63 goals-against average, turned aside 33 shots to pick up the victory.

"I think when it was 7-5 with just five minutes to play was when I could feel a bit relaxed," he said. "I think it was very emotion-filled for both goalies tonight."

Michael Ryder and Sergei Samsonov both recorded a goal and an assist, while Saku Koivu and defenseman Andrei Markov each added three assists as Montreal won for the fourth time in six games.

Andrew Brunette scored twice and Joe Sakic added a goal and an assist for the Avalanche, who had their brief two-game winning streak snapped.

"For the most part, it was an up and down game," Sakic said. "It's not too often you're going to see a shootout like that. Unfortunately for us, we were on the wrong end of it."

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