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Avalanche 4, Maple Leafs 1 @NHLdotcom

TORONTO (AP) -The Colorado Avalanche were pleased after beginning a tough three-game road trip through Canada with a win.

Colorado defenseman John-Michael Liles scored twice to lead the Avalanche to a 4-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday night.

"This is real big," said Liles. "It's such a tough road trip against three tough teams in three cities tough to play in. Getting this first win is huge."

A perennial power, the Avalanche got off to 1-2-2 start this season before playing Toronto - who are off to a better than expected start.

Liles scored his first two goals of the season - a go-ahead goal in the second and an insurance goal in the third.

He scored at 15:58 of the second by charging toward the net and poking the puck before falling and scoring. Colorado's Marek Svatos made a nice pass from the blue line to a streaking Liles, whose wrist shot beat goalie Andrew Raycroft blocker side at 6:22 of the third.

Liles said he didn't see the first one go on.

"That first one wasn't exactly the prettiest," Liles said. "Hopefully, that opens the flood gates for me."

Brett McLean and Milan Hejduk also scored for the Avalanche, who avoided a three-game losing streak.

Liles said his team was pumped to play in Toronto.

"It's always nice to play in cities like Toronto and Montreal. That's a big thrill for a lot of guys, especially for the young guys," Liles said. "Looking around the locker room beforehand a lot of guys were really excited. A lot of guys are from around here and it's great to play an Original Six team."

Colorado played the first of its three-game trip to Canada after losing two of three at home. The Avalanche play in Ottawa on Thursday before goalie Jose Theodore returns to Montreal on Saturday for the first time since being traded. The 2002 NHL MVP struggled in his last start - a 5-3 loss to Chicago on Monday night.

Backup Peter Budaj got the start against Toronto and finished with 27 saves.

Budaj said Theodore is still the No. 1 goalie.

"I know my role," he said.

Bates Battaglia scored for the Maple Leafs, who were booed as the final buzzer sounded.

"We played well the first four shifts and then struggled after that," Toronto coach Paul Maurice said. "We didn't have confidence with the puck."

Toronto's power play went 0-for-5 and is now 5-for-36 on the season. Toronto defenseman Bryan McCabe, whose slapshot led to many power-play goals last season, has yet to score this season.

Battaglia gave Toronto a 1-0 lead at 2:22 of the first after a Colorado defenseman turned the puck over behind his own net the puck trickled out front to Battaglia.

After a Toronto turnover, McLean tied it by putting a rebound past Raycroft at 9:37 of the first.

Notes: The Maple Leafs honored Mats Sundin for getting his 500th goal by framing the stick, puck and the gamesheet from Saturday's game. His teammates also got him a golf trip for four in Ireland. ... The Avalanche failed to sellout Monday's home game for the first time in nearly 11 years

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