Surely this wasn't what JosÃ© ThÃ©odore had in mind for his much-anticipated return to Montreal.
The Colorado Avalanche goaltender was shelled by his former team on Saturday night, allowing five third-period goalsas the Canadiens scored a wild 8-5 win.
ThÃ©odore, who was dealt to Colorado last season after failing to recapture the form he showed in winning the 2002 Vezina and Hart trophies, stopped 28 of 36 shots. On the few occasions when he made a good save, the former Montreal fan favourite was showered with boos by the Bell Centre crowd.
"Wide-open hockey is never an ideal situation for any goaltender," said an angry ThÃ©odore, adding that the jeering from the seats was no more than he expected.
The Avalanchenetmindercame under heavy fire all night as the Canadiens converted on four of their eight power-play chances.
"We had the momentum until they started hitting us with all those penalties," ThÃ©odore said.
No sympathy from Souray
Montreal defenceman Sheldon Souray, who led the Canadiens with two power-play goals and two assists, bristled when asked whether he felt sorry for his former teammate.
"Why would I?" Souray asked. "I don't feel for anybody. The media makes it a bigger deal than it is. I'm sure for [ThÃ©odore] coming in here was special for him, but for us it's just another game and he's just another goalie. We have a good thing going here. We have a great feeling in this room, a great feeling of togetherness, and that's what we're worried about, not anybody else."
Canadiens goalie David Aebischer, who went the other way in the ThÃ©odore deal, didn't fare much better than his counterpart, stopping 33 of 38 shots.
"Everyone knew the emotion of JosÃ© and Patrice coming back, but at the end of the day, it was more important for David to win than anything else," Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau said. "I think this will be a big boost for him and the team."
Thanks largely to a barrage of three goals in 1:15 late in the first period, the Avalanche had a 4-3 lead going into the third. But the Canadiens broke open a tie game with three unanswered goals after the half-way point of the third period to deny ThÃ©odore of what would have been a satisfying win.
"He wanted this game so badly and it didn't work out, so obviously, he's upset," said Colorado's Andrew Brunette, who scored a pair of goals."I think Abby and Theo both played great.
"I think we should be ashamed of ourselves for the effort we put out for Theo tonight."
Montreal spreads scoring
Seven different players scored for Montreal, while Saku Koivu and Andrei Markov each had three assists.
Koivu, the Canadiens' captain,sympathized with ThÃ©odore's rough night.
"He was here for such a long time and we all know all the things he did for our team, so it wasn't easy," Koivu said. "It's different when he's a goalie and you don't have to face him on the ice that much, but I'm sure this one was a tough one for him. And I'm sure he was nervous.
Besides Brunette's pair, the Avalanche got goals from Joe Sakic, Tyler Arnason and Paul Stastny, whotallied his first in the NHL.
Stastny's goal came in the first game in which he wore jersey No. 26 in honour of his father, Peter Stastny, a former Quebec Nordiques star.