Colorado stays unbeaten with 2-1 win
Toronto posts first loss of season
Something had to give on Tuesday.
The Colorado Avalanche and the Toronto Maple Leafs started their seasons undefeated, and one of them would not be unbeaten after their meeting at Air Canada Centre.
The Avs emerged from the showdown unbeaten in three games with a 2-1 victory over the Maple Leafs after a third-period goal by PA Parenteau provided the winning margin before a crowd of 19,388.
"It was a great team effort," Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy said. "And that's what we're looking for."
The Maple Leafs, who had won their first three games of the season, took the lead in the second period on a goal by Joffrey Lupul. But before the period ended Cory Sarich tied it.
"We've done some good things, and we've got some trust in each other and belief in each other," Sarich said. "It wasn't a great start to the game but we stuck with it like we needed to. I like winning the ugly ones, they're fun and memorable."
The Avalanche (3-0) took a 2-1 lead at 2:30 of the third period when Parenteau scored from close range after Jamie McGinn skated down the left side and put the puck in front of the net. It was the third goal of the season for Parenteau. Nathan MacKinnon also picked up an assist.
Jonathan Bernier got the start in the Leafs goal after a superb relief job on Saturday when he took over from James Reimer during the second period of a 5-4 comeback win over Ottawa in a shootout. He stopped 31 of 33 shots against the Avalanche on Tuesday.
"I feel we played pretty good to start, but I think tonight we gave up too many chances," Leafs defenseman Dian Phaneuf said. "And Bernie kept us in, he was right there for us. There's a lot of work to do."
"I think tonight we were held in our own zone from their aggressiveness; we didn't seem to be able to handle it, especially in the second period," Maple Leafs head coach Randy Carlyle said. "We weren't able to sustain any pressure. I thought our goaltender gave us a chance."
Semyon Varlamov started in goal for the Avalanche for the third game in a row and stopped 27 of 28 shots.
"He has made a big commitment this year to coming in ready for training camp," Roy said. "Everything he does, it looks easy. He's always square to the shooter. He plays the simple game and that's why he's having success. It was good for his confidence to win one on the road."
Lupul scored from a scramble in front of the goal at 13:12 of the second period to give the Leafs (3-1) a 1-0 lead. It was the left winger's second goal of the season. The only assist went to right winger Carter Ashton, his first NHL point. Ashton took a shot on goal that Varlamov stopped. MacKinnon then lost the puck. Lupul took a shot that Varlamov stopped, but the goalkeeper had no chance on Lupul's second shot.
"I thought we deserved to be better than down 1-0 at that point, but we're resilient," Roy said.
Slightly more than a minute after a fight that earned major penalties for Toronto's Troy Bodie and Colorado's Cody McLeod, the Avalanche tied the game at 16:39 on a 30-foot snap shot by Sarich, the first goal of the season for the defenseman. It came shortly after Bernier stopped a close-in shot by Steve Downie.
The game was tied 0-0 after the first period with the Leafs holding a 12-10 edge in shots on goal. The Avalanche had a 2-1 advantage in power-play situations in the period.
"Against a team like that you really have to manage the puck," Leafs defenseman Cody Franson said. "They've got a good mix of guys over there and give them credit. They did exactly what they want to do with their system."
NOTES: The Maple Leafs recalled LW Jamie Devane and C Trevor Smith from the Toronto Marlies of the AHL. ... Leafs C Jay McClement was not in the lineup because his wife was due to give birth. ... LW Gabriel Landeskog, Colorado's captain, returned to the lineup Tuesday after missing Friday's game against the Nashville Predators with a minor knee injury. ... Colorado and Toronto last met Oct. 17, 2011, with the Avalanche winning 5-4 in overtime at Air Canada Centre. The teams meet again in Denver on Jan. 21. ... Colorado plays the Bruins at Boston on Thursday, and D Ryan Wilson (knee) could be ready to return to the lineup. ... Toronto plays at Nashville on Thursday.