Lucas Viveiros | Report
Frederik Andersen was back between the pipes for the Maple Leafs on Monday evening, but an abysmal team effort saw Toronto drop the game 6-3 to the Colorado Avalanche.
Toronto has been reeling as of late, dropping four of their last six heading into this one, so this seemed to be a good opportunity to get back into the win column.
Following a scoreless first period where both teams had their chances but failed to convert, the Maple Leafs would cling onto the first goal of the game only 2:14 into the second.
On the goal, Auston Matthews would carry the puck into the Avalanche zone and slam on the breaks, quickly finding Morgan Rielly at the blue-line. Rielly would then snap a one-touch pass to Igor Ozhiganov who would wrist a shot on net that Avs goaltender Semyon Varlamov never got his eye on, making the score 1-0 Toronto.
The Buds would strike again almost immediately, as a minute later Par Lindholm would bang one home in front to make it 2-0 Toronto. But not so fast, as the goal would be called back due to an offside infraction by Connor Brown almost 20 seconds prior to the goal, resulting in the score remaining at only 1-0.
Kasperi Kapanen would have other ideas though, as the slick Fin would bury one that Varlamov had no chance at, assuring the Leafs of their two goal lead.
With 15:45 to play in the second, Andersen would be called upon to make a miraculous save, denying Soderberg of an empty net with his glove to keep his team ahead by two.
The remainder of the period would be all Colorado however, as just over two minutes after the huge stop, Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog would re-direct a long wrist shot by Tyson Barrie, beating Andersen to cut the lead in half.
The Avs would strike again midway through the period, when Nazem Kadri failed to clear his own zone, and was stripped by Colorado superstar Mikko Rantanen with a stick lift. Rantanen would then skate the puck in himself and beat Andersen high blocker to tie the game at two’s.
Colorado would then take the lead before the end of the middle period on some revenge by Carl Soderberg. On the play, Soderberg would poke the puck off of the stick of Mitch Marner to clear the zone shorthanded, he then would out muscle Jake Gardiner for the biscuit and fire it high blocker to make it 3-2 Avalanche.
Boos rained down from the Scotiabank Arena fans, as many seemed to be targeting Jake Gardiner after allowing Soderberg to beat him so cleanly.
The score would stay unchanged until six minutes into the third, when Travis Dermott would spot Mitch Marner with a beauty long-range pass, and Marner would make no mistake by beating Varlamov high glove to naught the game at three’s.
Unfortunately for the Leafs, Soderberg would have their number tonight, as the big centre would slam home a one-timer to make it 4-3 Colorado with just over eight minutes to play in regulation.
Toronto would attempt to battle back with some chances, but couldn’t beat Varlamov for that tying goal, as the Avalanche would tack on two empty netters, including one for Soderberg’s hat-trick to win the game 6-3.
Revisit the game’s highlights below.
Up next, Toronto will be in tough on Thursday night, taking a trip down south to visit the league best Tampa Bay Lightning, who have a record of 35-9-2.
Game time is set for 7:30pm from Amalie Arena, and can be viewed on Sportsnet.
More news from the ice
- Colorado is now 7-1-1 in their last nine games in Toronto, outscoring them 29-19
- Carl Soderberg’s first career hat-trick was the first Avalanche hat-trick against the Maple Leafs since November 26, 1992 (Owen Nolan)
- Garret Sparks returned to the roster, following an absence of five games due to a concussion
- Meanwhile, Michael Hutchinson, who started the last five games for the Buds was loaned to the AHL’s Marlies
Out of town scoreboard
Monday, January 14
Chicago 5 New Jersey 8
Minnesota 4 Philadelphia 7
St. Louis 4 Washington 1
Montreal 3 Boston 2 (OT)
Buffalo 2 Edmonton 7
More coverage to follow. Image from Maple Leafs Hot Stove.