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Avalanche's Parenteau set to return vs. Maple Leafs

by Sean McCullen

MAPLE LEAFS (26-20-5) at AVALANCHE (31-12-5)


Last 10: Toronto 6-4-0; Colorado 8-1-1

Season series: This is the second and final game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Colorado Avalanche, who won the first game, 2-1, on Oct. 8 at Air Canada Centre. PA Parenteau broke a 1-1 tie at 2:30 of the third period to lift the Avalanche to the win.

Big story: Parenteau is expected to play for the Avalanche for the first time since Dec. 29, when he injured his knee in a center-ice collision with Winnipeg Jets rookie defenseman Jacob Trouba.

He was not expected to return to the lineup for at least another two weeks.

"Quicker, but still three to four weeks it was (out of the lineup). It's nice to be back," Parenteau told reporters Monday. "It was a kind of painful three weeks, not very fun. I'm looking forward to doing what I'm doing."

The 30-year-old right wing skated on the fourth line with Patrick Bordeleau and Marc-Andre Cliche at practice Monday. Parenteau has nine goals and 15 assists in 38 games.

Team Scope:

Maple Leafs: Toronto, which has won five straight, opened a four-game road trip against Western Conference teams with a win against the Phoenix Coyotes on Monday.

The Maple Leafs went 2-for-6 on the power play in the 4-2 win, getting goals with the man advantage from Phil Kessel and Nazem Kadri. They are 6-for-19 (31.6 percent) on the power play during the five-game winning streak.

"We did a lot of good things early in the game and then we revered back to some of the old habits," coach Randy Carlyle said. "We seem to want to make life more difficult for ourselves. But we've won five in a row now and it's a positive step for this club, especially getting the first one on a (four-game) road trip."

Goalie Jonathan Bernier made 39 saves on 41 shots to earn his fourth straight win and improve to 17-14-4 on the season.

Avalanche: Colorado is 7-1-1 in 2014. The Avalanche have not played since Saturday night, when they earned a 5-4 win against the Nashville Predators, but will now play four games the next six days.

Semyon Varlamov, who is 11-0-5 in his past 16 starts, will be in goal Tuesday against Toronto and Friday against the Florida Panthers, coach Patrick Roy said Monday. Jean-Sebastien Giguere will start Saturday against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

On Parenteau's return, Roy said: "He passed the last test, the skating test, and he did good, and he will play [Tuesday]. I don't know yet what we're going to do. It's hard to make a big change in the lineup, the way the guys are playing. … That's the beauty of the situation. This is a good problem."

Who's hot: Kessel is on a six-game point streak (four goals, eight assists). …Avalanche center Paul Stastny has nine points (two goals) his past five games. Defenseman Nick Holden, who had two goals and an assist against the Predators, has five points his past five games.

Injury report: Maple Leafs forwards David Clarkson (elbow), Dave Bolland (ankle surgery), Trevor Smith (broken hand) and Frazer McLaren (shoulder) are on injured reserve. … Avalanche left wing Alex Tanguay (hip) and defensemen Nate Guenin (ankle) and Cory Sarich (back) are on IR. Center John Mitchell (flu) did not practice Monday.

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