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game recap

Grubauer, Avalanche top Maple Leafs for fourth win in row

Makes 38 saves; Andersen, Toronto lose back-to-back games

by Dave McCarthy / NHL.com Independent Correspondent

Grubauer's back-to-back saves

COL@TOR: Grubauer stops Matthews with multiple saves

Philipp Grubauer makes a kick save followed by a stop with his blocker to deny Auston Matthews during the 3rd period

  • 00:19 •

TORONTO -- Philipp Grubauer made 38 saves for the Colorado Avalanche in a 3-1 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena on Wednesday.

Frederik Andersen made 27 saves for the Maple Leafs (13-13-4), who are 1-3-0 in their past four games. Andersen started back-to-back games for Toronto and allowed five goals on 28 shots in a 6-1 loss at the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday. 

The Maple Leafs allowed five goals after tying the game 1-1 at 8:38 of the third period Tuesday, prompting Toronto center Auston Matthews to say they "just folded, kind of just quit." The plan was to start backup Michael Hutchinson against the Avalanche, but coach Sheldon Keefe said Andersen came to him after the Flyers game and asked to play again.

 

[WATCH: All Avalanche vs. Maple Leafs highlights]

 

"The way the guys got called out after last game, I figured I wanted to be out there battling with them. That's why I asked to play," Andersen said. "I think we responded well. We played well; they just found a way to get the win on special teams. It's a good team, and I thought we played well, especially 5-on-5. Obviously you're going try to get some rest to get up for the second game. I felt pretty good and [it's] just unfortunate I couldn't get the win."

Keefe said, "I liked that our guys competed. I thought we stayed in the game all the way through it. At times when they had their push, I thought we withstood it fine and then had pushes of our own. All in all, I liked the fight in our team. We just have to find ways to generate more offense."

Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and an assist, and Valeri Nichushkin and Joonas Donskoi scored for the Avalanche (17-8-2), who have won four in a row.

Video: COL@TOR: MacKinnon rips PPG into the top shelf

"Absolutely really good," Grubauer said. "That was one of the most complete games we've played so far from a 60-minute effort [standpoint]. We knew they were going to come out [strong], they've got some really skilled guys there, but we protected the middle of the ice and didn't give them too many chances. They still got some decent chances, but the guys in front of me made it really easy for me today to see all the shots."

Nichushkin put the Avalanche up 2-1 at 6:40 of the third period when he scored shorthanded on a breakaway following a turnover at the Colorado blue line.

"He's been really good on the penalty kill using his size (6-foot-4, 210 pounds), strength and length, and knows where to be," Colorado coach Jared Bednar said of Nichushkin, who has five points (three goals, two assists) in his past seven games after having no points in his previous 14. "He's a good, responsible defensive player, and now he's starting to chip in after a long drought."

Video: COL@TOR: Nichushkin steals the puck, pots SHG

The Avalanche took a 1-0 lead on the power play at 10:52 of the second when MacKinnon received a cross-ice pass from Mikko Rantanen and shot past Andersen's glove from the left face-off dot.

"I wasn't expecting that pass, he wasn't even really looking at me," MacKinnon said. "The Maple Leafs kind of flooded all over to him, and he's one of the best passers in the NHL, so that was a great play by him to find me and give me so much time to get that shot away."

Hyman tied it 1-1 at 12:42 when he deflected a pass from Alexander Kerfoot at the top of the goal crease.

Video: COL@TOR: Hyman nets Kerfoot's spinning no-look pass

Donskoi scored into an empty net with 1:19 remaining for the 3-1 final.

Avalanche center Nazem Kadri played his first game in Toronto since being traded by the Maple Leafs to Colorado on July 1. He had a shot and two hits in 17:27. Kadri played the first 10 seasons and 561 games of his NHL career with Toronto.

Maple Leafs forward Mitchell Marner played 22:53 in his return after missing 11 games with a high ankle sprain. He had a shot, a hit and two blocked shots.

Video: COL@TOR: Kadri honored in first game back in Toronto

 

They said it

"I think there's definitely room for improvement, but on the road, it isn't necessarily always going to be pretty, so you have to take what you can get. Grubauer played great, and I think down the stretch, we're going to have to learn how to win some tough games, and that was exactly what tonight was." -- Avalanche center Nazem Kadri

Video: Clutch Performance: Grubauer saves 38 shots for COL

"He's a real leader for us and he's one of the best in the League, so no question his determination, his confidence, he sets a real tone for us and the backbone of our group. He played great, he gave us a great chance to win. It's too bad we didn't reward him." -- Maple Leafs captain John Tavares on goalie Frederik Andersen

 

Need to know

MacKinnon has five goals in a five-game goal streak and 18 points (seven goals, 11 assists) in an eight-game point streak. … Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly played his 500th NHL game. … Toronto forward Andreas Johnsson did not play in the third period because of a leg injury. Keefe said Johnsson was too sore to return for the third but that the injury did not appear serious.

 

What's next

Avalanche: At the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; TSN2, RDS, ALT, NHL.TV)

Maple Leafs: At the St. Louis Blues on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, CBC, SN, SN360, CITY, TVAS, FS-MW, NHL.TV)

Video: Grubauer leads Avalanche to 3-1 win over Maple Leafs

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