TOR
38-36-8
COL
52-22-8

31 SOG
37 SOG

Leafs Drop Avalanche For Sixth Straight Win

The Canadian Press | Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:47 AM

DENVER - Phil Kessel keeps scoring and the Toronto Maple Leafs keep on winning.

That four-game skid in early January seems as if it's a long time ago.

Kessel scored twice, James van Riemsdyk had a goal and an assist and the Maple Leafs beat the Colorado Avalanche 5-2 on Tuesday night for their sixth straight win.

Nazem Kadri also scored and James Reimer stopped 35 shots for Toronto.

Kessel has been one of the hottest players in the league over the past 12 days, and it came at the right time for his team.

The Maple Leafs were struggling when Kessel started scoring. He has six goals and eight assists during Toronto's winning streak.

"With Phil, if he continues to get chances, he's got a history behind him and he knows how to score goals," Toronto coach Randy Carlyle said.

The Maple Leafs are on their longest winning streak in eight years after losing four in a row. Toronto has climbed to fourth in the Eastern Conference during its win streak.

The previous time Toronto won six straight was Dec. 23, 2005-Jan. 2, 2006.

"There's a lot more life in the room," defenceman Dion Phaneuf said. "We've got a confidence in our dressing room that we feel good about ourselves."

Kessel was playing for the University of Minnesota during Toronto's previous six-game winning streak, but now he's leading the way for the Leafs ahead of the Sochi Olympics next month, where he will be part of Team USA once again.

"We're winning, that's the most important thing," Kessel said.

Rookie Nathan MacKinnon scored two goals for the Avalanche, and Jean-Sebastien Giguere had 19 saves in relief of Semyon Varlamov.

"We lost the game in the second period," MacKinnon said. "Their goalie made some good saves for them. We've been playing well of late, but we can't let this game get us down too much."

Colorado generated more early chances but Toronto scored first. Phaneuf sent a puck from his own end off the backboards and Kessel, who got behind the Avalanche defence, put a soft shot past Varlamov 3:56 into the game.

"Dion made a good play, I kind of whiffed on it but it went in," Kessel said.

The Avalanche failed to capitalize on two early power plays, and the Maple Leafs made it 2-0 on their first try on van Riemsdyk's 20th goal at 17:41.

Kadri redirected Jake Gardiner's shot from the point 2:55 into the second period, giving Toronto a 3-0 lead and chasing Varlamov.

Varlamov allowed three goals on 10 shots.

"I think Varly was just a bit tired," Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said. "I almost took him out after the first period. I didn't see in him the same energy that he's shown since the start of the year. When he gave up that third goal there's no need to push that."

Giguere came in and Kessel made it 4-0 with his second of the night and team-leading 26th of the season.

He nearly had his second hat trick of the season, but was denied by Jean-Sebastien Giguere in the third. Kessel finished with eight shots on goal.

"I had a bunch tonight," Kessel said. "I missed some good chances."

Giguere settled down, and the Avalanche finally got on the board when MacKinnon scored on a 2-on-1 break with P.A. Parenteau at 18:35 of the second period.

Colorado turned up the pressure in the third and scored again on MacKinnon's high wrist shot at 5:07. It was his 17th goal of the season.

Colorado pulled Giguere for an extra skater with 2:56 remaining, but Jay McClement scored into the empty net to seal the win.

"We played a decent enough of a hockey game to give ourselves a chance," Carlyle said. "The home team's going to come with a push and we withstood that."

NOTES: Toronto RW Joffrey Lupul had two assists. ... Kessel extended his point streak to seven games. ... The Avalanche honoured referee Brad Watson before the game. Watson was officiating in his 1,000th NHL game. ... Colorado activated Parenteau and D Nate Guenin from the injured list. Parenteau missed 10 games with a sprained left knee and Guenin was out for seven games with an ankle injury.

1st2nd3rdT
TOR
COL
Scoring Summary
1st Period
03:56TOR Phil Kessel (25) ASST: Dion Phaneuf (16), Mason Raymond (19) 1 - 0 TOR
17:41TOR PPG - James van Riemsdyk (20) ASST: Cody Franson (21), Tyler Bozak (15) 2 - 0 TOR
2nd Period
02:55TOR Jake Gardiner (5) ASST: Joffrey Lupul (13), Troy Bodie (3) 3 - 0 TOR
05:17TOR Phil Kessel (26) ASST: James van Riemsdyk (19), Tyler Bozak (16) 4 - 0 TOR
18:35COL Nathan MacKinnon (16) ASST: Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau (16), Nick Holden (7) 4 - 1 TOR
3rd Period
05:07COL Nathan MacKinnon (17) ASST: Maxime Talbot (10) 4 - 2 TOR
17:47TOR EN - Jay McClement (2) ASST: Nikolay Kulemin (8), Joffrey Lupul (14) 5 - 2 TOR
Three Stars of the Game
Phil Kessel
1st
Phil Kessel
RW
G: 2Shots: 8
A: 0Hits: 0
PTS: 2PIM: 0
+/-: 0TOI: 23:11
Nathan MacKinnon
2nd
Nathan MacKinnon
G: 2Shots: 5
A: 0Hits: 1
PTS: 2PIM: 0
+/-: 0TOI: 14:29
James van Riemsdyk
3rd
James van Riemsdyk
LW
G: 1Shots: 4
A: 1Hits: 0
PTS: 2PIM: 0
+/-: 0TOI: 20:00
Penalty Summary
1st Period
01:21TOR Colton Orr  Tripping against  Andre Benoit
06:19TOR Mason Raymond  Holding against  Ryan Wilson
17:28COL Matt Duchene  Hooking against  Nikolay Kulemin
18:54COL Paul Stastny  Hooking against  James van Riemsdyk
2nd Period
07:04COL Cody McLeod  Hooking against  Troy Bodie
08:38TOR Nazem Kadri  Interference against  Marc-Andre Cliche
3rd Period
10:31COL Andre Benoit  Slashing against  Phil Kessel
11:20TOR Dion Phaneuf  Slashing against  Matt Duchene
shots by period
PeriodTORCOL
1st911
2nd159
3rd717
Total3137
Team Stats
CategoryTORCOL
Power Plays1/40/4
Hits2025
Faceoff Wins2733
Giveaways05
Takeaways1111
Blocked Shots1510
Penalty Minutes88
  • TORONTO
  • COLORADO
#skatersPosGA+/-SPIMTOI
3D. PhaneufD0122225:08
4C. FransonD0102023:04
8T. GleasonD00-10018:29
11J. McClementC1001011:26
12M. RaymondL0100214:00
19J. LupulL0221019:37
21J. van RiemsdykL1104020:00
24P. HollandC0000010:45
28C. OrrR000123:52
36C. GunnarssonD0020020:02
37C. AshtonR000003:32
40T. BodieR0111011:08
41N. KuleminL0110016:34
42T. BozakC0212020:42
43N. KadriC0013217:11
44M. RiellyD0010015:23
51J. GardinerD1006018:03
81P. KesselR2008023:11
#GoaliesSvSASv%TOI
34J. Reimer3537.94659:53
#skatersPosGA+/-SPIMTOI
2N. HoldenD01-13016:24
4T. BarrieD0002022:41
6E. JohnsonD00-22023:34
7J. MitchellC00-12014:07
8J. HejdaD0002021:48
9M. DucheneC00-14218:52
11J. McGinnL00-13018:16
15P. ParenteauR0110012:06
24M. ClicheC0002011:25
25M. TalbotC0101014:15
26P. StastnyC00-22215:50
29N. MacKinnonC2005014:29
44R. WilsonD0000017:18
55C. McLeodL00-12211:55
58P. BordeleauL000308:41
61A. BenoitD00-13218:16
90R. O'ReillyC00-11018:20
92G. LandeskogL00-10016:13
#GoaliesSvSASv%TOI
1S. Varlamov710.70022:55
35J. Giguere1920.95036:22