Matt Iaboni March 24, 2011
The Maple Leafs weren't as sharp against Colorado as they were in the win over Minnesota but they were able to grab the lead and hold on.
Entering the third up 3-2, the Leafs were looking for an insurance marker and Phil Kessel provided it just over three minutes into the period. On the power play, Joffrey Lupul made a great feed to Kessel who one-timed it past Peter Budaj. It was Kessel's team leading 29th goal of the season. The Leafs are now three back of eighth place.
Wins for James Reimer, eighth most by a Leafs rookie netminder.
The progression of Nikolai Kulemin's game in his three-year NHL career has been astounding. The Russian winger scored twice giving him 28 goals on the season and his fourth point in two games.
After the Leafs fell behind early in the first, Kulemin found the loose puck and beat Brian Elliott five hole. With just five seconds to go in the first Kulemin banked the puck off Elliott and in. Kulemin finished the night with two goals, a plus two, three shots and two hits.
Luke Schenn has found his offensive game and against the Avalanche it played a key role in the win. Schenn made a great play on Tyler Bozak's goal and he was his usual solid self in his own zone.
On the Bozak goal, Schenn did a great job of finding Bozak in traffic for the pretty redirect. The Leafs blueliner has recorded five points this month as he is becoming more confident with the puck. Schenn finished the game with a team high five shots in 22:43 of ice-time.
35. The number of points that the Leafs have picked up since the All-Star break back in January. With the win over the Avalanche, the Leafs improved their record to 15-6-5 since then. The Leafs have also cut the deficit for eighth place from 14 points to just three.
One area where the Leafs have also been much better is on the road. In James Reimer's last nine road games he is 8-0-1. The Leafs will look to sweep the road trip Saturday when they travel to Detroit.
"Yeah, it probably did. Well, the hit (on Mark Olver) and then the ensuing fight (with Cameron Gaunce) so he got the upper hand in both. It was good for Mike. It was one of his better games in a while, take out the hit and the fight, and he did a really good job defensively. He was good in our end making simple plays and he had a good game ... I thought it was a legal hit (on Olver)."
Saturday, March 26 @ Detroit Red Wings
7 PM ET (CBC, AM640)
The Leafs close out the three-game road trip when they face their Original Six rival Detroit in the Motor City for the first time since October 2008 when the Leafs won 3-2.
Toronto has won the last three meetings against Detroit. The Wings sit second in the West but are just 4-4-3 in the Month of March. They are on a five-game homestand.