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Maple Leafs, Avalanche try to remain unbeaten

by Brian Hunter /

AVALANCHE (2-0-0) at MAPLE LEAFS (3-0-0)


Season series: The Colorado Avalanche and Toronto Maple Leafs meet for the first time in almost two years. On Oct. 17, 2011, Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 27 saves and the Avalanche beat the Maple Leafs 3-2 in overtime at Air Canada Centre.

Big story: It's a battle of unbeatens as the NHL season enters its second week. The fast start is quite welcome but not entirely unexpected for a Maple Leafs team coming off a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs; however, the Avalanche have to be thrilled with the early results after a last-place finish in the Western Conference a season ago

Team Scope:

Avalanche: Nine goals in the first two games speaks to the up-tempo style new coach Patrick Roy wants to play, but the big number for Colorado is just two goals allowed in victories over the Anaheim Ducks and Nashville Predators.

Even the injury news is falling in the Avalanche's favor. They lost forward Gabriel Landeskog to a leg injury in the season opener, but it turned out to be minor and Roy said after practice Sunday he would be in the lineup against the Maple Leafs.

"We just wanted to make sure that we were on the safe side with this one," Landeskog told the team's website. "So early in the season, there is no point to risking anything now. It was just a minor little thing so we made sure we took care of it right away."

Maple Leafs: Offense hasn't been a problem for Toronto either, as the Maple Leafs have 11 non-shootout goals in wins over the Montreal Canadiens, Philadelphia Flyers and Ottawa Senators.

After starting off with a pair of road wins, the Maple Leafs treated those in attendance at the ACC to a two-goal rally in the home opener Saturday, capped by shootout goals from Mason Raymond and Tyler Bozak in a 5-4 victory over the Senators. Jonathan Bernier stopped all 15 shots he faced in relief of James Reimer and allowed nothing in the penalty-shot tiebreaker.

"There wasn't a lot of extra rebounds hanging around," coach Randy Carlyle said. "When he made the save, the puck was either in his glove or he was able to freeze it. He controlled the puck, which allowed us to box out. There wasn't so many wild scrambles around the net. Hat's off to him."

Who's hot: Nathan MacKinnon, the No. 1 pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, has three assists in his first two games with the Avalanche. Goalie Semyon Varlamov has stopped 61 of 63 shots. … Raymond, who attended Maple Leafs camp as a professional tryout before signing a one-year contract, has two goals and four points in three games. Bernier has stopped 46 of 47 shots in one start and one relief appearance.

Injury report: Colorado defenseman Ryan Wilson (knee) is expected to return to the lineup this week, possibly as early as Tuesday. … Toronto forward Nikolai Kulemin (ankle) is expected to miss two weeks. Defenseman Mark Fraser (knee) and forward Frazer McLaren (hand) are on injured reserve. Forward David Clarkson has seven games left to serve in a 10-game suspension for leaving the bench during an altercation in the preseason.

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