On Sunday, he showed the Ottawa Senators in person.
Benoit, who did not get a sufficient contract offer from the
Senators in July, scored his sixth of the season to lead Colorado to
a 3-1 victory over Ottawa at Canadian Tire Centre.
Benoit has been a steady player on the Avalanche blue line all
"It's always fun to score against an old team, and I had lots of
family and friends here," said Benoit, who is from St. Albert,
Ontario, just outside of Ottawa. "Hopefully they keep going in."
Defensemen Nick Holden and center John Mitchell scored the other
Colorado (44-19-5) was coming off a 6-4 loss to the Anaheim Ducks.
The Senators (28-26-13) were unable to regroup from blowing a 4-1
lead in the final 3 1/2 minutes of Saturday's game against the
Montreal Canadiens, one of the biggest collapses in NHL history.
The Senators are now seven points behind the New York Rangers, who
hold the last wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.
"Right now, we're finding ways to lose games," said Senators center
Jason Spezza, whose team outshot the Avalanche 39-22. "We played
great, we were all over them, but it's not enough.
"If we did that to close the game out (Saturday), then there's less
pressure on this game, but if you have sloppy games and incomplete
efforts, there's no moral victories when you are in our position."
Colorado goalie Semyon Varlamov turned in another superb
performance, but had his bid for a shutout was foiled with six
seconds left when Senators center Mika Zibanejad scored with a shot
from the point. Varlamov stopped 38 shots, while Senators goalie
Robin Lehner made 19 saves in his second loss in less than 24 hours.
"We can't give up a goal like that with less than 10 seconds left,"
Avalanche center Nathan Mackinnon said. "We owed it to (Varlamov) to
get that shutout.
"I don't think you can look at shots. I mean, they threw everything
at the net. I'd like to see (totals) on the dangerous shots. We were
probably pretty close in that area."
The game was scoreless through a first period that saw each team
manage just four shots on goal.
The Senators outshot Colorado 20-8 in the second period, but
Varlamov kept the visitors alive until Benoit connected with a wrist
shot from the slot that beat Lehner high on the stick side at the
The Senators, who lead the NHL in minor penalties, didn't take their
first of the game until the 2:25 mark of the third, when winger
Chris Neil was called for delay of game after closing his hand on
the puck in the neutral zone. It took the Avalanche just 45 seconds
to capitalize on the opportunity.
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After center Matt Duchene's pass from behind the net was blocked,
winger Jamie McGinn knocked the loose puck across the crease to
Holden, who deposited it into the open side.
It was Holden's seventh of the season.
Mitchell tapped a centering pass from winger Gabriel Landeskog
between Lehner's legs at 17:02 of the third.
Zibanejad's goal came with Lehner on the bench in favor of an extra
"I was surprised, I thought when we scored that third goal that we
were home free (for the shutout) because I thought that they
wouldn't pull their goalie," Duchene said. "I haven't seen that very
often, but they're in dire straits right now trying to make the
playoffs, and it shows the players that the coach hasn't given up no
matter what the situation is."
The Senators, despite the odds, say they haven't given up either.
"I wish I had some answers," defenseman Marc Methot said. "I'd like
to think the way we came out we were structured, we were moving the
puck very well and we actually felt good about our game.
"It just takes a couple of breakdowns, and that was the difference.
No matter what, at least in my position, I don't see any reason to
give up on the year. Crazy things have been done in this league.
We're professionals, and we've got to play as such."
The Avalanche's next game is Tuesday in Montreal, where Colorado
coach Patrick Roy starred between the pipes for the Canadiens from
1984-95. The Senators' homestand continues Tuesday when the New York
NOTES: The goal by Avalanche D Andre Benoit was the ninth of his
107-game NHL career. He has four in his past nine games. ... The
Avalanche had five shots on goal through the first 32:57. The
Senators had 19 to that point. ... Senators G Craig Anderson missed
his second consecutive game with a shoulder injury. G Nathan Lawson,
up from AHL Binghamton, was the backup to G Robin Lehner. ... Erik
Karlsson played his 300th NHL game. He is the fifth Senators
defenseman to reach the mark. ... The Avalanche improved to 22-6-4
in weekend games. ... Colorado is the only NHL team that has not
been shut out this season.
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