The Colorado Avalanche starts a three-game road trip on Wednesday at the Toronto Maple Leafs after defeating the Chicago Blackhawks in both games of a home-and-home set last weekend.
The Avs beat the Hawks 5-2 on Friday in Chicago and 7-3 on Saturday in Denver to stretch their winning streak to three games. Mikko Rantanen made his return to the lineup on Saturday after missing 16 games with a lower-body injury and notched four points (one goal, three assists) in his first game since Oct. 21. Joonas Donskoi recorded a career-high four points (two goals, two assists) on Saturday as well to contribute to the Avs' seven goals.
Saturday's 7-3 victory was the fifth time this season that the Avs have scored six or more times in a single contest with the others coming on Oct. 14 at the Washington Capitals (6-3), Oct. 19 at the Tampa Bay Lightning (6-2), Oct. 25 at the Vegas Golden Knights (6-1) and Nov. 7 versus the Nashville Predators (9-4). Colorado has scored 97 goals this season, the third most in the league.
The Avalanche's game against the Maple Leafs is the second and final meeting of the year after Toronto won 5-3 just 12 days earlier on Nov. 23 at Pepsi Center. The Leafs are playing the second half of a back-to-back and are coming off a 6-1 loss at the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday. Travis Dermot scored the lone goal for Toronto to tie the outing at 1-1 before the Flyers tallied five straight markers.
The Maple Leafs have gone 4-2-0 since replacing Mike Babcock with Sheldon Keefe as head coach on Nov. 20.
Avalanche at Toronto Maple Leafs
Scotiabank Arena | Toronto, Ontario
Avs center Nazem Kadri was born in London, Ontario, and was a first-round draft pick of the Maple Leafs (No. 7 overall) in 2009. He spent parts of 10 seasons with the Leafs, recording 357 points (161 goals, 196 assists) in 561 games… Colorado blueliner Calle Rosen signed with Toronto as a free agent from Sweden and played two seasons and eight NHL games with the Maple Leafs organization before being traded to the Avalanche with Kadri on July 1… Avs captain Gabriel Landeskog played his junior hockey in nearby Kitchener for the OHL Rangers from 2009-2011… 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 seasons 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 42-31-10 record against the Leafs and a 22-17-5 mark as the visiting team. Colorado has won three straight games in Toronto and are 7-1-1 in its last nine game at Scotiabank Arena. Since moving to Denver in 1995, the Avs have won 12 of the 21 matchups in Toronto. Colorado is 3-2-0 against the Leafs since the 2017-18 campaign and are 4-3-0 in the last seven meetings.
Toronto claimed a 5-3 victory over the Avalanche on Nov. 23 when the two teams met for the first time this season in Denver. Former Avs defenseman Tyson Barrie found the back of the net and had an assist, and four other Maple Leafs players also tallied to give Toronto the win. Valeri Nichushkin, Nathan MacKinnon and Andre Burakovsky all scored for the Avs, and goaltenders Philipp Grubauer and Pavel Francouz combined for 23 saves on 27 shots faced.
Mikko Rantanen took a maintenance day from practice on Monday but is traveling with the team and is expected to play in Toronto.
Matt Calvert (head) and Gabriel Landeskog (lower body) both skated in practices this week and are going on the road with the team… Andre Burakovsky (upper body) did not practice on Monday and is not starting on the road trip with the Avs but may become available later in the week… Erik Johnson (lower body) is week-to-week and not traveling with the team… Colin Wilson (lower body) is scheduled to have surgery and is out of the lineup indefinitely.
SCOUTING THE MAPLE LEAFS
The Leafs are 13-12-4 this season and sit in fifth place in the Atlantic Division with 30 points. The club has scored 93 goals to put it tied for fifth in the league in goals for. Toronto has killed 75.8 percent of its penalties this year, 25th in the league, and scored on 19.3 percent of its power plays, tied for 13th in the NHL and one spot behind the Avalanche (19.4). The Maple Leafs have the sixth most shots per game in the league, taking 33.7 shots over 29 contests. Toronto has won 905 faceoffs to lead the league, and its 52.4 faceoff-win percentage is second only to the Philadelphia Flyers.
(OPPOSING) PLAYER TO WATCH: Kasperi Kapanen
Kasperi Kapanen scored one of the five goals against the Avs when the two teams met on Nov. 23. Kapanen ranks tied for sixth on the Leafs in scoring this season after notching 17 points (eight goals, nine assists) in 29 games. He is one of only 11 players in the league with two short-handed goals this season and has taken 49 shots.
Kapanen was selected by the Pittsburgh Penguins at 22nd overall in the 2014 draft. He was traded to Toronto before the 2015-16 campaign and is currently in his fifth season with the club. He recorded a career-high season last year with 44 points (20 goals, 24 assists) in his 78 games played.
The Avalanche leads the league in goals per game, scoring 3.73 goals over 26 games.
Nathan MacKinnon set the Avalanche record for most points in November by notching 25 points (10 goals, 15 assists). He broke the former record of 23 points previously set by both himself (2018-19) and Peter Forsberg (1995-96). MacKinnon was also named the NHL's Second Star of November.
Ian Cole recorded the 100th assist of his career on Saturday in the win against Chicago. Cole has 122 points (22 goals, 100 assists) in his 497 career NHL games.
The Avs are tied for the most goals in both the first (33) and second (37) periods in the league… Colorado is tied for the second-most even-strength goals for after scoring 75 this year… Cale Makar was named Rookie of the Month for November after scoring 16 points (seven goals, nine assists), finishing with a plus-10 rating and notching three game-winning goals… Ryan Graves is currently plus-16, tied for the seventh-highest rating in the league… Nathan MacKinnon took 79 shots in November to lead the league and bring his season total to 127, second in the NHL… The Avs are starting their fifth back-to-back series of the year on Wednesday at Toronto and will finish the set by visiting the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday… Colorado's current road trip concludes on Saturday at the Boston Bruins.