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game recap

Maple Leafs score three power-play goals in 1:49 in win against Avalanche

Matthews has goal, two assists to help send Colorado to eighth straight loss

by Rick Sadowski / Correspondent

Maple Leafs net three quick PPGs

TOR@COL: Leafs score three power-play goals in 1:49

Auston Matthews, Nazem Kadri and Kasperi Kapanen each score power-play goals within 1:49 to give the Maple Leafs a 4-1 lead in the 2nd

  • 01:39 •

DENVER -- The Toronto Maple Leafs scored three power-play goals in a span of 1:49 in the second period to hand the Colorado Avalanche their eighth straight loss, 5-2 at Pepsi Center on Tuesday.

"It was our power play," Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said. "For a while tonight it was going badly. We weren't doing good things. When you don't do good things, good things don't happen. But when you start to do good things, you get competitive.

"It was great to see our guys be rewarded. Gives them a bit of swagger back and their play was the difference in the game."


[WATCH: All Maple Leafs vs. Avalanche highlights]


Kasperi Kapanen and Nazem Kadri each had two goals, Auston Matthews had a goal and two assists, and Frederik Andersen made 34 saves for the Maple Leafs (35-18-3), who are 6-1-1 in their past eight games.

Toronto went 3-for-6 on the power play after going 1-for-18 in the previous six games.

"Like I said earlier, all being on the same page," Kadri said. "That makes a big difference. Trying to make little adjustments, talking amongst the five of us and trying to draw up little plays that possibly could work. That was the difference. It was nice to get a couple tonight, for sure."

Alexander Kerfoot and Ryan Graves scored for the Avalanche (22-23-11), who are 0-5-3 in the past eight games, allowing at least four goals in seven of them. Semyon Varlamov gave up four goals on 17 shots before being pulled. Philipp Grubauer made 10 saves in relief.

"I thought Grubauer did a really nice job coming in cold," Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. "I thought [Varlamov] was great. He was giving us a chance to win. What's he going to do on the power play? They're seam passes to quick spots on and off the guys' tapes. It's great execution by them and I don't think he has a chance.

"I pulled him simply because it's been a while since [Grubauer] got in the net and tried to spark our team. That was not a goalie pull, but he was great and [Varlamov] was pretty darned good too."

Toronto took a 1-0 lead at 3:17 of the first period on a breakaway by Kapanen off a lob pass from Matthews.

Video: TOR@COL: Kapanen pots goal on breakaway

Colorado tied 1-1 at 15:16 when Graves scored through a screen from just inside the blue line.

The Maple Leafs went in front 2-1 on Matthews' power-play goal at 5:19 of the second period. John Tavares passed through the goalmouth to Matthews in the lower left circle for his 99th NHL goal.

The Maple Leafs stretched the lead to 3-1 at 6:46 on Kadri's power-play goal after Avalanche forward J.T. Compher was assessed a double-minor for high-sticking Travis Dermott. Kadri scored from the slot on a tic-tac-toe passing play from Tavares and Matthews.

"The story of the game for me was our penalty kill," Bednar said. "We take a double minor 200 feet away from our net. At this point, that's ridiculous. You can't do that, especially not against a team that definitely has one of the more dangerous power plays in the League."

Kapanen made it 4-1 with a power-play goal at 7:08, putting in a loose puck. Grubauer then replaced Varlamov.  

"I haven't been put on too much power play," Kapanen said. "I'm grateful for the chance to get out there and then try to score goals. Lucky enough, I did today."

Kadri redirected William Nylander's pass to increase the lead to 5-1 at 5:42 of the third period.

Video: TOR@COL: Kadri finishes feed from Nylander

The Avalanche pulled within 5-2 at 8:14 on Kerfoot's deflection of Samuel Girard's shot.

Colorado's line of Gabriel Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen was held to two shots, both from MacKinnon.

"Just eliminating time and space for those guys," Andersen said. "Their top line is where they get most of their production. We wanted to eliminate that as much as possible."


They said it

"We'd like to be good home and away. It's tough, especially coming into a building like this where altitude obviously affects you. I thought the first 10 minutes we kind of weathered the storm. It was a big goal by [Kapanen] there and we just went from there. Power play came out big for us and the rest is history." -- Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews


"Breakdowns in coverage, they scored. Guys didn't do their jobs on the specific [penalty] kills and it's in the back of your net. We were having a good game 5-on-5 and then bang, bang, bang, they score three." -- Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson


Need to know

The Maple Leafs' three power-play goals in 1:49 tied for their fifth-fastest three in the regular season since 1933-34. The fastest was 1:16 against the Montreal Canadiens on Feb. 9, 1952 … Tavares has eight points (three goals, five assists) in his past five games … The Avalanche losing streak is their longest since nine straight (0-8-1) Jan. 12-Feb. 1, 2017. They have been outscored 35-16 in the streak.


What's next

Maple Leafs: At the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday (10 p.m. ET; ESPN+, ATTSN-RM, SNO, NHL.TV)

Avalanche: At the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; TSN3, ALT, NHL.TV)

Video: Kadri, Kapanen, Matthews power Maple Leafs to 5-2 win

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