Kadri, Kapanen score 22 seconds apart as Leafs beat Avs 5-2
DENVER — Nazem Kadri and Kasperi Kapanen scored power-play goals 22 seconds apart in the second period, Frederik Andersen stopped 34 shots and the Toronto Maple Leafs beat Colorado 5-2 on Tuesday night, extending the Avalanche’s winless streak to eight games.
Kapanen and Kadri finished with two goals, while Auston Matthews added a goal and two assists.
Toronto broke things open in the second with three power-play goals over a 1:49 span to make it a 4-1 contest. J.T. Compher committed a costly high-stick penalty that resulted in a double minor, with Kadri and Kapanen each cashing in. The Avalanche pulled Semyon Varlamov after giving up four goals on 17 shots. Philipp Grubauer allowed one goal in relief.
Ryan Graves and Alexander Kerfoot scored for a reeling Avalanche team that’s gone 0-5-3 over their last eight games. The team returned to the Pepsi Center after losing three straight overtime contests on the road. Home ice didn’t help.
Andersen and the defense bottled up Colorado most of the evening. It was a stark contrast to the meeting in Toronto on Jan. 14, when Colorado cruised to a 6-3 win.
Matthews’ goal was the 99th of his NHL career. The Maple Leafs improved to 15-2-1 this season when Matthews — the No. 1 pick in the 2016 draft — scores a goal.
Kapanen had a breakaway chance 28 seconds into the game, only to be turned back by Varlamov’s right pad. Given another breakaway opportunity later in the first period, Kapanen wouldn’t miss again.
The right winger caught an elevated pass from Matthews with his right glove and, without missing a stride, quickly set the puck back down. Kapanen flipped a shot over Varlamov’s glove.
Colorado tied it up with 4:44 remaining in the first when Andersen couldn’t track Graves’ liner from the blue line through traffic. It was about the only thing Andersen didn’t stop over the opening period. Andersen had a sequence where he stopped a flurry shots down low, even after being pushed into the goal.
Just the way things have lately gone for the Avalanche. Colorado was tied for the most points in the Western Conference after games on Dec. 7. Since then, the team has gone 5-16-6.
“Try to block out the doubts you have in your head,” captain Gabriel Landeskog said. “We’re in way too good of a spot and way too much hockey left to be played to be sulking and hanging our heads.”
NOTES: Toronto C John Tavares had two assists. … Avalanche recalled F Tyson Jost from the Colorado Eagles of the American Hockey League. … D Ian Cole (upper body) remains out indefinitely. … This is Colorado’s longest winless streak since going 0-8-1 from Jan. 12 to Feb. 1, 2017.
Maple Leafs: At Vegas on Thursday for the fourth of a six-game trip.
Avalanche: At Winnipeg on Thursday before a three-game homestand.
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The Coal Ridge High boys suffered their first 3A Western Slope League loss of the year Thursday night on the road at Gunnison, falling to the defending league champion Cowboys 65-45.