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Maple Leafs enjoy run; Parenteau back for Avalanche

by Rick Sadowski

DENVER -- It wasn't a coincidence that Toronto Maple Leafs center Tyler Bozak wore an orange-and-blue-striped dress shirt Tuesday while a handful of teammates took part in an optional skate at Pepsi Center.

Bozak is a Denver Broncos fan, and those are the Super Bowl-bound team's colors. Bozak, who attended the University of Denver for two years and makes his offseason home in Denver, is friends with Toronto native and Broncos offensive tackle Orlando Franklin, who will attend the game Tuesday between the Maple Leafs and Colorado Avalanche.

"I told him to bring Peyton [Manning], but I don't know if he's going to," said Bozak, who has been limited to 27 games because of hamstring and oblique injuries.

Bozak is excited about playing before friends and the fact the Maple Leafs have won five games in a row to move back into the hunt for a Stanley Cup Playoff berth.

"We just started to do the little things a little bit better," said Bozak, who has nine goals and 14 assists in 27 games and is centering Toronto's top line with James van Riemsdyk and Phil Kessel. "We're burying more of our opportunities. There's going to be stretches during a season where you lose games in a row and there's going to be stretches where you win them. You just have to stay positive, and I think we did a good job of staying confident and positive when we were losing and to get back on track."

The Maple Leafs (26-20-5), who opened a four-game road trip Monday with a 4-2 win against the Phoenix Coyotes, lost four consecutive games before going on their winning streak.

"Two weeks ago in Toronto I thought they were going to trade everybody," Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said. "Two weeks later, they're talking about winning the Stanley Cup. They're playing well. They have a lot of skill, there's no doubt about it. It'll be a good challenge for our team."

Right wing PA Parenteau will return to the Avalanche lineup after missing 10 games with a sprained left knee. He'll begin on the fourth line with Marc-Andre Cliche and Patrick Bordeleau.

"I'm good to go," said Parenteau, who has nine goals and 15 assists in 38 games. "I'm looking forward to coming back. The team's been playing really well, put a lot of wins together, and I'm looking forward to helping them get more wins. I'll ease into it and we'll go from there. The most important thing is my knee. It felt pretty good. It's strong. I have the brace on and it's not bothering me at all."

Colorado (31-12-5) has won four games in a row and is 8-1-2 in the past 11 games. Semyon Varlamov, who has an 11-0-5 record in his past 16 decisions, will start in goal.

Here are the projected lineups for the Maple Leafs and Avalanche:


James van Riemsdyk -- Tyler Bozak -- Phil Kessel

Mason Raymond -- Nazem Kadri -- Joffrey Lupul

Nikolai Kulemin -- Peter Holland -- Carter Ashton

Troy Bodie -- Jay McClement -- Colton Orr

Carl Gunnarsson -- Dion Phaneuf

Tim Gleason -- Cody Franson

Jake Gardiner -- Morgan Rielly

James Reimer

Jonathan Bernier

Scratched: Mark Fraser, Paul Ranger

Injured: Dave Bolland (ankle), David Clarkson (elbow), Frazer McLaren (shoulder), Trevor Smith (hand)


Ryan O'Reilly -- Matt Duchene -- Jamie McGinn

Gabriel Landeskog -- Paul Stastny -- Nathan MacKinnon

Cody McLeod -- John Mitchell -- Maxime Talbot

Patrick Bordeleau -- Marc-Andre Cliche -- PA Parenteau

Erik Johnson -- Jan Hejda

Andre Benoit -- Ryan Wilson

Nick Holden -- Tyson Barrie

Semyon Varlamov

Jean-Sebastien Giguere

Scratched: Brad Malone

Injured: Nate Guenin (ankle), Cory Sarich (back), Alex Tanguay (knee, hip), David Van Der Gulik (head)

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