The Colorado Avalanche (13-7-2) is back at home to host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday after finishing its five-game road trip with a 3-2-0 record.
Colorado fell 3-2 to the Minnesota Wild on Thursday after a two-goal effort from Cale Makar tied the game in the second period. Makar leads all NHL rookies in with 25 points (seven goals, 18 assists) and a plus-9 rating. He is also one of only two first-year skaters that have played more than 20 games who hasn't spent any time in the penalty box.
The Avs have scored 11 power-play goals at home, led by Nathan MacKinnon's four, and are currently tied for the fifth most in the league. MacKinnon has notched 32 points (13 goals, 19 assists) this season and is the sixth highest point-getter in the league.
Toronto defeated the Arizona Coyotes 3-1 on Thursday in head coach Sheldon Keefe's first outing as the Maple Leafs bench boss. Saturday's game against Colorado will be the fourth of a six-game road trip, a trek Toronto is 1-2-0 on thus far.
This is the first of two meetings between the Avs and Leafs with the season-series finale coming on Dec. 4 in Toronto.
The contest will be Colorado's Hockey Fights Cancer night, presented by UCHealth, and will honor survivors and help bring awareness to hockey's most important fight.
Avalanche vs. Toronto Maple Leafs
Pepsi Center | Denver, Colo.
Avs center Nazem Kadri was born in London, Ontario, was drafted by the Maple Leafs (No. 7 overall) in 2009. He spent parts of 10 seasons with the Leafs, recording 357 poionts (161 goals, 196 assists) in 561 games…Toronto defenseman Tyson Barrie was Colorado's third pick (No. 64 overall) in the 2009 draft and played eight years (484 games) with the Avalanche. He is the franchise record holder for points (307), goals (75) and assists (232) by a defenseman.…Maple Leafs' center Alexander Kerfoot played his first two NHL season with Colorado (2017-2019)… Toronto center Nicholas Shore was born in Denver and played at the University of Denver from 2010-2013… Maple Leafs forward Trevor Moore spent three years at DU (2013-2016).
The Avs hold an all-time 42-30-10 record against the Leafs and a 20-13-5 mark as the home team. Since moving to Colorado in 1995, the Avs have won seven of the 15 matchups in Denver. Colorado is 3-1-0 against Toronto since the 2017-18 campaign, including a 1-1-0 mark at home, and 4-2-0 in the last six meetings.
Philipp Grubauer is 3-0-0 with a 1.87 goals-against average and .929 save percentage in four career games (two starts) against the Maple Leafs.
Tyson Jost (upper body) is making progress and participated in Colorado's optional practice on Friday, but head coach Jared Bednar said he is doubtful to play against Toronto... Forward Jayson Megna was reassisgned to the American Hockey League's Colorado Eagles on Friday.
Mikko Rantanen and Colin Wilson both skated in red, non-contact jerseys on Friday as they continue to recover from their respective lower-body injuries… Matt Calvert is feeling better but remains out of the lineup with a head injury… Gabriel Landeskog is out indefinitely with a lower-body injury and will be reevaluated this week with a scheduled doctor's visit.
SCOUTING THE MAPLE LEAFS
Toronto made a coaching change on Wednesday, relieving Mike Babcock of his duties and naming Sheldon Keefe as the club's new head coach. The Maple Leafs skated to a 3-1 win at the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday in Keefe's first game as the bench boss.
The Maple Leafs own a 10-10-4 record this season as one of five teams that has played 24 games, the second most in the league, and are in fourth place in the Atlantic Division after registering 24 points. The club is 4-7-0 on the road after playing the fifth fewest road games in the league.
Toronto holds a 53.82 shot attempts percentage at five-on-five, the second highest in the league behind the Carolina Hurricanes. Additionally, the Leafs have won 53.7 percent of their faceoffs this season, making them the best faceoff team in the league.
Toronto finished last season with 100 points and made the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the third consecutive season and fell to the Boston Bruins in seven games.
(OPPOSING) PLAYER TO WATCH: Auston Matthews
Auston Matthews has tallied 28 points (15 goals, 13 assists) to lead the Maple Leafs and is tied for 10th in the league overall. His 15 goals also put him on top of Toronto and in a three-way tie for the fourth most goals in the NHL. Matthews also leads the Leafs with 89 shots this season, 27 more than the second highest shot-taker.
Matthews was Toronto's first-round pick (No. 1 overall) in 2016 and is in his fourth season with the club. He found the back of the net for a career-high 40 times in his rookie season and notched 69 total points (40 goals, 29 assists) to lead the team in both goals and points. He has recorded 233 career points (126 goals, 107 assists) in 236 NHL games.
Cale Makar's two goals on Thursday in Minnesota marked the seventh game in a row that the Avs have gotten a multi-goal effort from one of its players. It ties the franchise mark that was set from Nov. 24-Dec. 10, 1983.
J.T. Compher has a +12 rating this season, the 10th highest in the league. He is one of two Avs players with a rating above 10, with Ryan Graves (plus-11) sitting in second.
The Avs have scored 26 goals in the first period this year, putting the club in a three-way tie for the second most in the category this season.
Colorado is 8-2-1 on Hockey Fights Cancer night… The Avs are tied for the third most goals-for in the league after scoring 78 goals this season…Nathan MacKinnon has 1.45 points-per-game, the seventh highest in the NHL…MacKinnon has taken 106 shots this season to put him in second place in the league behind the Washington Capitals' Alex Ovechkin…Andre Burakovsky leads Colorado with three game-winning goals this season…Burakovsky also has a shooting percentage of 22.7 percent, the best for the Avs…Colorado will stay at home to host the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday.