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Avs keep rolling with OT win at Toronto

by Neil Acharya /
TORONTO -- It has been road sweet road for the Colorado Avalanche.

After being shutout in their opening game of the season against the Detroit Red Wings, the Avs have rattled off 5 straight wins and are now perfect on the road after a 3-2 overtime victory against the host Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday night.

David Jones was the hero scoring his team-leading fourth goal of the season on a rebound off of a Kyle Quincy point shot 1:11 into the extra session.  

The goal came after former Maple Leafs goaltender Jean-Sebastien Gigure stopped a Phil Kessel chance with a glove save at the other end of the ice.

"It feels good to beat your old team," said Giguere, who finished with 27 saves. "As a team, we played extremely well. It was the last game of a long road trip and we managed a way to get some energy. We should be really pleased. We are a pretty young team and it's good to start like this on the road and get some confidence."

The Leafs forced overtime with time ticking down in the third, as Nikolai Kulemin pounced on Dion Phaneuf's rebound and backhanded it past Giguere to make it 2-2.

"I thought it was a big point. We battled back," Phaneuf said. "We're were down 2-1 going into the third … I thought it was a big goal late in the game to get that point and to push it to overtime. We're not happy with the loss, but we'll take that point and move forward."

Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson pointed out that Kulemin carried out what he expects of his forward group.

"He did what we've been encouraging our forwards to do -- which is drive to the front of net and he got a rebound and score," Wilson said.

The Avs looked to be in control for the better part of the third before allowing the tying goal and entered the period with a 2-1 lead. Milan Hejduk broke a 1-1 tie with a power-play goal at the 14:14 mark, when his low shot from the top of the faceoff circle got by Leafs goaltender James Reimer thanks to a good screen by Jones, who was named the game's first star.

"This is really impressive after the loss at home," Hejduk said. "We've come back with 5 straight (wins). It's great for a young team. It builds up the confidence and we are looking forward to playing more games. We are getting the goaltending and scoring goals when we need them.  It wasn't our best game of the road trip, but we played a tough opponent and we did enough to win the hockey game."

Hejduk has now registered a point in four of Colorado's first six games.  Erik Johnson and Paul Stastny earned assists on Hejduk's tally.

Things are indeed clicking for Phil Kessel, who entered Monday's game tied for the League lead in goals and points and he opened the scoring early in the second period, when he fooled Giguere with a wrist shot from 10 feet inside the blue line. The goal came just 19 seconds into the period.

Toronto native Daniel Winnik evened the score just over 3 minutes later when he beat Reimer five-hole for his second goal in three games. The play was created by Ryan O'Reilly, who drove two Leaf defenders back towards their own goal as he made the pass, thus creating a screen for Winnik as he erased a 1-0 deficit.

The Avs now return home and have a few days off before they host the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday at the Pepsi Center. Toronto hosts Winnipeg on Wednesday.
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