Then the Colorado Avalanche lost not one, but two goaltenders as first Semyon Varlamov, then Reto Berra, were injured. WhenVarlamov was hurt, Colorado called up the 22-year-old Pickard from the AHL where he had two starts this season after playing for the club the last two years.
Berra was involved in a first period goalmouth collision Thursday night against Ottawa and Pickard, a second round 2010 pick by the Avalanche (49th overall) played the final 43 minutes stopping 23 of 27 starts.
Avalanche coach Patrick Roy laughed when asked if he was going to strap on the pads. "No, you don't want to see that. That would be ugly," said the former three-time Vezina Trophy and Conn Smythe Trophy-winning goalie. "It's a good chance to see what these guys can do."
Colorado called up Sami Aittokallio to join Pickard, but it was Pickard who got the call to make his first NHL start at Montreal's Bell Centre.
Pickard turned aside the first 20 shots fired his way as the Avalanche made it through the opening period with a one-goal lead on a Alex Tanguay goal.
Then Pickard was introduced to P.K. Subban. First, long-range on a howitzer from the point for the game-tying goal. Then, later in the second period, up close when Subban came out of the penalty box, chased the puck into the Colorado zone, circled the net and then walked in and put a couple moves on the rookie before giving Montreal a 3-1 lead.
Pickard would be called upon to face 36 shots and wound up stopping 33 of them. The Avalanche pulled Pickard with two and a half minutes to play and Jarome Iginla scored to pull them within a goal. But that's as close as they would get.
Welcome to the NHL, youngster.