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Special teams shine as Maple Leafs beat Avalanche for fourth win in five games

NHL.com @NHL

TORONTO - The much-maligned Toronto Maple Leafs special-teams units enjoyed a special night against the Colorado Avalanche.

The Leafs got four goals on the power play and one short-handed to beat the Avalanche 5-1 Tuesday night at Air Canada Centre for their fourth victory in five games.

Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau scored twice against one of his former teams, Tyler Bozak had his first power-play goal of the season and Leo Komarov scored Toronto's first short-handed goal in its 19th game. James van Riemsdyk also scored late on the power play.

The last time the Leafs scored four power-play goals in a game was Jan. 7, 2011, a 9-3 win at the Atlanta Thrashers.

James Reimer, anointed the No. 1 goaltender by coach Mike Babcock, stopped 34 of the 35 shots he faced for his fourth consecutive win.

After a bad start, the Leafs (6-9-4) now have points in seven of their past nine games.

Erik Johnson scored for Colorado (7-10-1), which lost for the first time on this road trip. Reto Berra, who allowed four goals on 26 shots, was pulled in favour of Calvin Pickard in the third period.

Toronto entered the game ranked 25th in the NHL on the power play with a conversion rate of just 15.1 per cent and 23rd on the penalty kill with a success rate of 78.7 per cent. At home, the Leafs' penalty kill was third-worst in the league.

That wasn't a problem against the Avalanche. The Leafs killed off all three penalties they took, and Komarov added his sixth goal of the season for good measure.

Berra, who had stopped 89 of the first 92 shots he faced in three straight road victories in place of the injured Semyon Varlamov, was beaten clean by Komarov but couldn't do much on the power-play goals.

Absurd puck movement from Brad Boyes to Bozak to Peter Holland to Parenteau gave him plenty of net to shoot at, and he had a little extra pop on the shot against the team that gave up on him after the 2013-14 season. The Avalanche traded Parenteau to the Montreal Canadiens that summer for Daniel Briere.

Parenteau was back on the ice for the Leafs' second power-play goal as Holland dished the puck to Boyes who fed it to Bozak. The centre scored from one knee as Toronto went up 3-0 for the first time all season.

Parenteau and van Riemsdyk added power-play goals in the third period.

Notes ??? Toronto forward Nick Spaling missed the game with an undisclosed injury. Boyes replaced him in the lineup after being a healthy scratch the past three games. ... Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog served the second game of his two-game suspension for a check to the head of Bruins winger Brad Marchand.

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