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At the Rink: Avalanche vs. Maple Leafs

by Mike Brophy

TORONTO – Goalie James Reimer will start for the Toronto Maple Leafs against the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday at Air Canada Centre.

Reimer, named the NHL's third star for the week ending Nov. 15, has won three straight. Jonathan Bernier played in a 4-3 loss to the New York Rangers on Sunday.

Reimer doesn't believe having Sunday off will hurt his ability to continue playing at a high level.

"I don't think it will affect me," Reimer said. "It's one of those things where I have been feeling good so I'll just try to keep the good feeling going. We have been playing really well as a team and when that happens everyone has success."

Reimer started the season as Toronto's backup goalie, but has elevated his status through solid and consistent play.

"I don't know anything about goaltending, but he has always worked hard at practice and if you're the backup goalie that's probably a key for you to be ready when you do get the chance," Maple Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul said. "Obviously you see he is having success in the games now – anyone can see that. But as far as behind the scenes he has always stayed positive and kept up a good work ethic at practice, which has allowed him to come in and be successful now."

Reimer is aware of how dangerous the Avalanche can be.

"They have a lot of good shooters," Reimer said. "They are a quick team and a rush team. They have a lot of skilled players who can skate and shoot. We have to be really diligent and try to cut off as much of their speed as possible and I have to make saves."

Reimer's greatest challenge may be trying to stop the NHL's first star of the week, Colorado center Matt Duchene. After being held without a point in the first four games of the season, and scoring one goal and two points in 10 games, Duchene has turned his season around. He has four goals and eight points in his past three games, and seven goals in his past six games.

"I think when things don't go well sometimes you overthink and you paralyze yourself on the ice rather than just playing," Duchene said. "I think I just got back to playing. I'm skating and getting into the battles more. I have been staying high in the slot and being in the scoring zone a little bit more, and obviously all it takes is one or two bounces to go your way and you are off and running. I haven't changed much, but it has been enough to help me get going."

Duchene is enjoying the best stretch of his career and he credits part of it to playing with Colorado's leading scorer, forward Nathan MacKinnon.

"Our chemistry is getting better every game," Duchene said. "We're talking lots and he's playing great, too. I try to get the puck to him with speed and then follow up. Fortunately I can kind of keep up with him and I can get in on the rush with him."

The Avalanche have won three straight. This will be their third game of a seven-game, 15-day road trip

Here are the projected lineups:


Mikhail Grigorenko - Nathan MacKinnon - Matt Duchene

Blake Comeau - Carl Soderberg - Jarome Iginla

Cody McLeod - Chris Wagner - Andreas Martinsen

Dennis Everberg - Ben Street - Jack Skille

Francois Beauchemin - Erik Johnson

Nick Holden - Tyson Barrie

Brandon Gormley - Nate Guenin

Reto Berra

Calvin Pickard

Injured: Brad Stuart (back), Semyon Varlamov (groin), Alex Tanguay (knee), Jesse Winchester (concussion)

Scratched: Zach Redmond, John Mitchell

Suspended: Gabriel Landeskog


James van Riemsdyk - Nazem Kadri - Leo Komarov

Shawn Matthias - Tyler Bozak - PA Parenteau

Daniel Winnik - Byron Froese - Joffrey Lupul

Michael GrabnerPeter Holland - Brad Boyes

Jake Gardiner - Dion Phaneuf

Matt Hunwick - Morgan Rielly

Scott Harrington - Roman Polak

James Reimer

Jonathan Bernier

Injured: Stephane Robidas (groin), Nick Spaling (undisclosed)

Scratched: Frank Corrado, Martin Marincin

Status report: Wagner, who was claimed off waivers from the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday, is expected to be in the lineup for the Avalanche…Mitchell missed four of the past six games with an oblique ailment…Varlamov was placed on injured reserve Sunday retroactive to Nov. 10…Landeskog will serve the second of a two-game suspension…There is a chance either Corrado or Marincin will dress on defense for Toronto. If that happens, either Polak or Harrington is likely to be scratched.

Who's hot: Grigorenko has a goal and four points in two games…Comeau has assists in back-to-back games…Berra has won three straight…Lupul has scored in consecutive games…Bozak has points in four straight games.

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