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Confident Parenteau lights up Avalanche, continues to show value for Leafs

NHL.com @NHL

TORONTO - Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau insisted he took no special joy in scoring twice against the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night.

The Avalanche dealt Parenteau to Montreal two summers ago for Daniel Briere. After the Canadiens bought him out, the winger signed on with the Toronto Maple Leafs and has gradually improved this season.

Parenteau said it was nice to score against one of his former teams, but he hinted that previous coaches Patrick Roy and Michel Therrien never believed in him as much as Mike Babcock.

"I took a lot of blame for last year when I didn't play really well, but I feel a lot of confidence this year," Parenteau said after scoring two power-play goals in the Leafs' 5-1 victory over Colorado. "I feel like I have the confidence of the coach, which is a big thing for a player, too. I feel like he wants me out there. That helps my game. That's how it is."

Parenteau now has six goals in his first 19 games for Toronto. He had nine in 56 games last season with the Canadiens.

The 32-year-old who is on a US$1.5-million, one-year deal after making $4 million in each of the previous four seasons, is eager to show he can still produce. He believes injuries derailed his time in Colorado and didn't want to throw Roy under the bus for anything.

"I don't want to go back to that kind of stuff," Parenteau said. "I'm looking ahead now, and I want to help this team to win hockey games. It's my only goal right now."

Babcock said Parenteau "is working probably as hard as he has in his career without the puck," and that's leading to results. Puck movement was a big part of his two-goal night, but so was a quick shot that goaltender Reto Berra had little to no chance of stopping.

While Parenteau brushed off the added incentive of ending the Avalanche's three-game winning streak, teammates figured the game meant something a little more to him.

"Whenever you play your old team, you always want to play your best, and I think tonight was arguably his best game since he's been a Leaf," goalie James Reimer said. "He was fired up and his shot was going and the power play was going."

Parenteau was always known as a dynamic scorer, but he had to earn his ice time under Babcock. He started as a bottom-six forward and worked his way up.

"It took a little bit for (Babcock) to know what kind of player I was," Parenteau said. "I was fighting for ice time earlier in the year. Now things are clicking a little more, and it's nice to see. It's up to me to keep it going."

Parenteau has four goals and one assist now in his past five games. The Leafs are 4-1-0 in that time.

Reimer is a big reason for that, along with special-teams success, but Parenteau is trying to do his part.

"You try to take advantage of opportunity that's given to you, and there's one given to me right now and I'm trying to make the best out of it," Parenteau said.

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