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Avs keep Leafs winless with 4-1 victory at Toronto

NHL.com @NHL

The Toronto Maple Leafs shook up their lineup. It still didn't help.

The last-place Leafs fell to 0-5-1 when the Colorado Avalanche -- 28th overall last season -- came to the Air Canada Centre and left with a 4-1 victory. Coach Ron Wilson changed goaltenders, benched two of his top scorers -- and ended up with his team's fifth consecutive regulation loss after an opening-night OT loss to Montreal.

Despite the loss, Wilson said he's still giving the team Wednesday off.

"First of all, we've got to relax here a little bit -- maybe just do a complete reset," he said. "The worst has already happened up to this point (with) how you could possibly start a season. We're not going to practice all of those (upcoming off-days) -- it might seem logical to practice and work on everything, but we've got to just relax here a little bit and step away tomorrow."

Former Leaf Darcy Tucker had a goal and an assist against his former team in his first game in Toronto since being bought out of his contract in the summer of 2008. Brett Clark, David Jones and John-Michael Liles had the other goals for the surprising Avs, who improved to 4-1-1 with their second road win in two days. They're 2-1-1 on a seven-game road trip after opening the season with two wins at home.

"I'm not going to lie to you, it felt great," Tucker said. 

Craig Anderson, who's give the Avs the best goaltending they've had in years, stopped 30 of 31 shots, allowing only a second-period power-play goal to Francois Beauchemin.

Wilson sat veteran forwards Matt Stajan and Niklas Hagman, who had accounted for five of the Leafs' 12 goals in their first five games. He also gave Joey MacDonald his first start of the season in goal, benching Vesa Toskala.

None of the changes made any difference, as the Leafs again paid for their inability to kill penalties and mount any kind of consistent pressure.

"The puck was all over the place -- I couldn't quite get a handle on it," MacDonald said. "They punched in a few rebounds. We played great at times tonight and I thought we had some good spurts, but it's just not enough."

Clark capitalized in Colorado's second power play when he fired a point shot that beat MacDonald at 11:43 while the netminder was being screened by one of his own defensemen. Jones went around defenseman Tomas Kaberle and slid the puck past MacDonald with 50.9 seconds remaining for a 2-0 lead.

It was the fifth consecutive game in which the Leafs went down 2-0. They've been outscored 10-2 in the first period this season.

Beauchemin, a free-agent signing this summer, gave the sellout crowd some hope when he blasted a power-play slapper through traffic and past Anderson 3:33 into the second period for his first goal as a Leaf and the first by a Toronto defenseman this season. But Tucker quieted things down at 5:58 when he crashed the net and knocked in a rebound for his third of the season. He pumped his fists after the red light went on.

"It felt great to score back in a place where I scored a number of goals over my career," Tucker said. "I think I was more excited for my kids in the stands than anything."

Colorado has scored at least one power-play goal in each of its first six games.

Liles put the game away at 9:36 when his floater hit the head of defenseman Mike Komisarek and went past MacDonald. Many of the 19,148 fans spent the rest of the night booing the home team.

Even Tucker admitted he felt a little sorry for his former team.

"I've got some close friends there, especially a couple guys I played with for a number of years in Kaberle and Stajan," he said. "I feel for them, obviously. But you've got to understand it's six games into the year -- you don't make the playoffs in six games and you don't get on the outside looking in six games. It's a full season --  obviously, they've got some work to do."

--John Kreiser, NHL.com

Material from wire services was used in this report

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