It was his fourth goal of the season, at 12:57 of the first, coming off a feed from Mikko Rantanen. He beat Canadiens rookie goaltender Cayden Primeau with the shot over his right leg pad, giving the Avalanche a 2-0 lead.
Landeskog, 27, Colorado’s captain who missed 16 games, confirmed Coach Jared Bednar’s decision to activate him just before pregame warmups at Bell Centre. Throughout the course of the injury, the team was vague about details. Landeskog didn’t elaborate much either, but did confirm that surgery was not involved.
“We didn’t know what it was. It was something minor, we got it taken care of, but the pain was still there,” said Landeskog, who had previously been skating in practices with a non-contact jersey on. “We looked into it … and I had to sit out.”
Colorado kept up an impressive pace without Landeskog. The Avalanche now have a five-game winning streak, and have been victorious in seven of the past nine.
“One thing is that we haven’t settled for anything less than full effort for 60 minutes,” Landeskog said. “That’s what we are trying to accomplish, night in and night out.”
The Avalanche, who also received goals from Matt Calvert and Ryan Graves at Montreal, have four forwards in double digits in goals: Nathan MacKinnon (18); Joonas Donskoi (12); Andre Burakovsky (11); and Nazem Kadri (10).
“Their whole team is really fast, but they definitely have some fast guys up front,” said Primeau, who was making his NHL debut. “That’s what I felt was the biggest adjustment. I tried to take it as if it was any other game.”
Colorado’s depth was on display, without Landeskog, and will only increase with him back in the lineup. He finished with 20 shifts and 18:34 time on the ice in the win.
“He’s our leader and he’s a big part of our team, both five-on-five and special teams,” Bednar said. “We’re excited to have him back. We are starting to get a little more healthy.”
Landeskog had three goals and seven points through 11 games before the injury. After losing their first four games without him, the Avalanche went 9-3.
“I’m not surpised in any way,” Landeskog said. “It’s been the story in years past as well. When guys go down, others have stepped up and done very well. I’m not surprised.”