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Rapid Recap: Maple Leafs 5, Avalanche 3

Colorado rallies but can't complete comeback

by Ron Knabenbauer @RonKnab / ColoradoAvalanche.com

The Colorado Avalanche couldn't overcome a three-goal deficit and fell 5-3 on Saturday night to the Toronto Maple Leafs at Pepsi Center.

Nathan MacKinnon began the game's scoring for the Avs just 31 seconds after the opening faceoff, but the Maple Leafs responded with four unanswered goals in the first period.

Colorado rallied in the final 40 minutes of play, but the deficit was too much for the club to overcome. The Avs' Andre Burakovsky scored to extend his point streak to five games, and Valeri Nichushkin also found the back of the net for his first marker in an Avalanche uniform.

Nazem Kadri added two assists in the game, while Ian Cole, Joonas Donskoi and Erik Johnson recorded helpers as well. Colorado goaltender Pavel Francouz finished the game and didn't allow a goal on 12 shots.

Zach Hyman sealed the game for the Leafs with an empty-net goal in the final second of regulation

Statistics | Photo Gallery | Hockey Fights Cancer Photos | Highlights | Notes & Quotes | Video: Coach Bednar Postgame

THE GOALS

1st Period
0:31 COL (1-0) - Nathan MacKinnon opened the game's scoring on a slap shot from the blue line.
9:49 TOR (1-1) - Denver native Nick Shore redirected Pierre Engvall's pass into the net after being stationed in the low slot.
10:56 TOR (1-2) - Auston Matthews found the back of the net on a shot from the top of the right circle.
13:22 TOR (1-3) - PPG, Tyson Barrie scored on a snap shot in the slot after getting a behind-the-goal-line pass from William Nylander.
17:36 TOR (1-4) - Kasperi Kapanen tallied on a breakaway.

2nd Period
10:21 COL (2-4) - PPG, Andre Burakovsky took a pass through the slot from Joonas Donskoi and snapped the puck into an open part of the net.

3rd Period
6:54 COL (3-4) - Valeri Nichushin buried the rebound after a shot caromed off the goal post for his first goal as a member of the Avalanche.
19:59 TOR (3-5) - Zach Hyman fought for the puck in the neutral zone and scored into an open net to seal the game

Final: Maple Leafs - 5 | Avalanche - 3

3 STARS

  1. Tyson Barrie (TOR): Scored and had an assist
  2. Nazem Kadri (COL): Recorded two assists
  3. Auston Matthews (TOR): Finished with two points (goal and assist)

Selected by Colorado Hockey Coach of the Game: Karl Blase (Boulder Hockey Club)

POWER PLAYS

Colorado: 1 for 3
Toronto: 1 for 2

GOALTENDING BATTLE

Colorado: Philipp Grubauer started the game and stopped 11 shots during the first period. Pavel Francouz played the final two periods in net and stopped all 12 shots he faced.
Toronto: Frederik Andersen made 34 saves on 37 shots.

STAT OF THE NIGHT

Andre Burakovsky extended his point streak to five games (six goals, three assists). His nine points over that span matches his highest point total over any five-game stretch in his career (Jan. 15-23, 2017; four goals, five assists)

NOTEBOOK

Cale Makar finished with 27:45 of ice time, a career high an Avalanche season high and the most of any rookie in 2019-20. It's the third-most ice time for an Avalanche rookie defenseman since the team moved to Denver (Martin Skoula, 31:03 on Dec. 1, 1999 vs. Edmonton; Tyson Barrie, 28:48 on April 26, 2013)…Nathan MacKinnon has recorded points in four straight contests (three goals, four assists)… Valeri Nichushkin scored his first goal as a member of the Avalanche and his first tally since March 4, 2016 vs. New Jersey as a member of the Dallas Stars (91 games)… Nazem Kadri recorded two assists for his fourth multi-point outing and second two-assist performance of the season… Kadri has now registered a point against every NHL club. He was playing against the Maple Leafs for the first time since the Avalanche acquired him from Toronto in a trade on July 1… Former Avalanche players Tyson Barrie and Alexander Kerfoot were playing in Colorado for the first time since that July 1 trade… The Avalanche is now 8-3-1 on Hockey Fights Cancer night… Colorado is 5-1-2 against the Eastern Conference this season, the final team in the NHL to lose to an Eastern club in regulation… The Avalanche held Toronto to three shots on goal in the second period, matching the fewest shots against in a period this season (2x - last: Nov. 2 at Arizona)… The Avs won 60.3 percent of their faceoffs, their highest win percentage in a game this season.

QUOTABLE

Nazem Kadri on the Avalanche's adjustments after the first period: "Just to be more assertive, more aggressive, show some more urgency. I think those are the things we pointed out and definitely for the rest of the game we did a better job. But like I said, it was just a little too much, too late."

BIG HIGHLIGHT

Video: TOR@COL: Avalanche honor Hockey Fights Cancer night

IMAGE OF THE GAME

Best buds.

ROSTER REPORT

Tyson Jost returned to the lineup after missing the past three games with an upper-body injury. He started the game on a line with Vladislav Kamenev and Logan O'Connor… Mark Barberio and A.J. Greer were the healthy scratches… The Avalanche reassigned Jayson Megna to the American Hockey League's Colorado Eagles on Friday and assigned Greer to the Eagles on Saturday after the game.

INJURY UPDATE

Mikko Rantanen (lower body) took part in Friday's optional practice in a non-contact jersey… Colin Wilson (lower body) also skated on Friday but did not take part in the session… Matt Calvert missed his third game of the season with a head injury, but head coach Jared Bednar said on Friday that the forward is progressing in his recovery… Bednar said after the game that Wilson and Calvert could increase their skating and possibly practice with the team next week… Gabriel Landeskog remains out with a lower-body injury and will be re-evaluated by the doctors on Monday in a pre-scheduled visit. 

UP NEXT

Colorado takes on the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday at 8 p.m. to wrap up its two-game homestand. It is the second meeting of the season between the clubs after they played in Edmonton on Nov. 14. 

LINE COMBINATIONS

Based on start of the game
Forwards
95 Andre Burakovsky - 29 Nathan MacKinnon - 72 Joonas Donskoi
83 Matt Nieto - 91 Nazem Kadri - 37 J.T. Compher
13 Valeri Nichushkin - 41 Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - 36 T.J. Tynan
17 Tyson Jost - 81 Vladislav Kamenev - 25 Logan O'Connor

Defensemen
49 Samuel Girard - 6 Erik Johnson
27 Ryan Graves - 8 Cale Makar
16 Nikita Zadorov - 28 Ian Cole 

Goaltenders
31 Philipp Grubauer
39 Pavel Francouz

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