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Tucker Shines In Return To Toronto

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche
Returning to his old stomping grounds, Darcy Tucker displayed the kind of play he was known for when he wore the home team’s colors at Air Canada Centre.

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Tucker, who spent parts of eight seasons with the Maple Leafs before joining the Colorado Avalanche prior to the 2008-09 campaign, assisted on the game’s opening goal and netted a power-play tally in the second period to help his current club earn a 4-1 victory over Toronto on Tuesday.

A long-time fan favorite in Toronto, the veteran forward was treated to a standing ovation from the Maple Leafs’ crowd in the first period. While he previously played against Toronto last season in a Jan. 29 contest at Pepsi Center, tonight’s game marked Tucker’s first visit to Toronto since moving to Denver two summers ago.

During Tuesday’s game Tucker displayed the kind of grit Toronto fans grew accustomed to during his eight-year tenure with the Leafs, as his goal came after he crashed the net hard. With the Avalanche holding a man-advantage, Marek Svatos put an attempt on Toronto goaltender Joey MacDonald, who couldn’t control the rebound. As Tucker barreled toward the net, the loose puck caromed off his skate and into the goal for his third tally of the season.

It was Tucker’s first goal at Air Canada Centre since April 1, 2008, a 4-3 shootout loss to Buffalo when he was a member of the Maple Leafs.

In addition to his two-point effort, Tucker had three shots on goal and a hit in 14:49 of ice time.

Avs Extend Power-Play Streak
Brett Clark blasted home a point shot at 11:43 of the opening period, extending Colorado’s season-opening streak of power-play tallies. The Avs have recorded a power-play goal in each of their first six games this season, the club’s best season-opening stretch since 1997-98 (nine straight).

Factoring in Tucker’s tally later in the game, Colorado has compiled 10 power-play goals this season, with seven different players contributing to that total (Tucker, Milan Hejduk and Marek Svatos have each scored twice with the man-advantage).

For Clark, it was his first goal since Dec. 23, 2008, a span of 46 games without a tally. That marker was an overtime winner versus the Phoenix Coyotes, which gave the Avs a 5-4 victory on Clark’s 32nd birthday.

Still Looking For #1
Avalanche rookies Matt Duchene and Ryan O’Reilly are both still looking for their first NHL goal. The 18-year old centers each notched an assist tonight, with Duchene drawing a helper on David Jones’ tally and O’Reilly picking up an assist on a John-Michael Liles goal in the second period.

Duchene and O’Reilly each own three points (all assists) through six games. In fact, the rookies’ game-by-game summaries are identical; when one has notched a point in a game, the other has followed. Duchene and O’Reilly both notched their first NHL point on opening night and were then held off the score sheet until they each tallied a helper during Monday’s win over Boston.

With their assists tonight, they’ve now registered points in back-to-back games for the first time in their NHL careers.

Milan Hejduk and Kyle Quincey had their season-opening point streaks snapped tonight…Both Hejduk (2g/4a) and Quincey (1g/5a) had recorded six points through the first five contests… Liles left the game in the second period after taking a hard hit in the corner of Colorado’s defensive zone. He did not return to the game after absorbing the check…O’Reilly saw 18:05 of ice time, a career-high through his first six games.

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