The Maple Leafs potent power play finally had the coaches, players and fans, sighing with relief going 3-5 along with a 3-point night from Auston Matthews defeating the Colorado Avalanche 5-2 at the Pepsi Center Tuesday.
The Avs who’ve now lost 8-straight felt they played a decent game but admitted taking five minors including a double to forward JT Compher for crosschecking was playing with fire against a team like Toronto. Two power play goals within a 49-second span put the visitors up by a pair and in the drivers seat cruising to a 3-goal win.
Kasperi Kapanen had two breakaways in the first three minutes cashing in on the second and would add another on the power play to open the game up in the second. The snake bitten Nazem Kadri had a pair, one on the power play off Matthews’s rebound who had the other marker with the man advantage to round out the scoring.
It was a terrific win for the Leafs who opened with an up tempo attack, similar to Sundays frustrating loss, only were rewarded this time against the desperate Avs.
Frederik Andersen gave them a solid effort in the cage with a 34-save performance against a very dangerous Colorado lineup. Special teams rose to the challenge not only with the man advantage but also on the penalty kill with a perfect 3-3 on the night.
The defense played better but still panicked at times clearing their zone but Andersen was there to thwart any sustained pressure.
The Leafs did a great job opening up the ice keeping the Avs D off guard using the stretch pass breakout that teams have been adjusting too but the difference in this game was the Leafs forwards moving their feet instead of standing still waiting for the pass. This allowed the defenders to hit them sooner that proved to be effective.
It’s the kind of effort needed to maintain second place in the division with the pesky Bruins keeping pace and the opponents don’t get any easier on this 6-game road trip with the next stop in Las Vegas tomorrow followed by Arizona and St Louis.