Toews, Avalanche rally for OT win against Maple Leafs
Devon Toews scored at 1:12 of overtime when the Colorado Avalanche rallied for a 5-4 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Ball Arena on Saturday.
Toews scored the fourth straight goal for Colorado, which trailed 4-1 in the second period.
“They had one or two bodies who were a little tired,” said Toews, who beat Jack Campbell five-hole from low in the left slot off a pass from Nazem Kadri. “We were trying to keep possession with the guys we had on the ice. They cheated a little bit and I was able to jump down.”
Mikko Rantanen had four assists, and Gabriel Landeskog and Cale Makar each had a goal and an assist for Colorado (21-8-2), which set an Avalanche/Quebec Nordiques record with its 11th straight home win. Pavel Francouz allowed one goal on 19 shots after relieving Darcy Kuemper (three goals on eight shots) at 14:50 of the first period.
“We just needed to change something,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. “I don’t put that on Kuemper at all. I’d love to see him come up with one of those, but he just wasn’t finding it. I was just trying to send a message to our group. It just shows what our team is capable of if we work like that at both ends.”
Auston Matthews scored two goals, and Alexander Kerfoot had a goal and two assists for Toronto (22-8-3), which had won four straight. Jack Campbell made 44 saves.
“I take nothing but positives out of this game tonight,” Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said. “All things considered, this team we were playing tonight, they’re rolling. It’s a tough building to play in. It’s probably the loudest building we played in all year. So you come out of playing in front of no fans (in Toronto) to something like this, the response to start the game I thought was outstanding.
“Would we like to get two points? Absolutely. Should we have had two points? Absolutely, but that’s a very good team and to come in here and get a point is huge for this group.”
Kerfoot gave the Maple Leafs a 1-0 lead at 7:54 of the first period with a one-timer from between the face-off circles.
Matthews made it 2-0 at 14:17 with a shot from the slot.
Matthews scored 33 seconds later at 14:50 to make it 3-0 with a shot in the slot off a pass from Kerfoot, who was behind the net, prompting Bednar to make the goalie change.
“It’s something teams usually do to get the team going,” Francouz said. “We started playing well in the second period. To me, it was just a matter of time before we started scoring. I was just trying to enjoy every minute on the ice, especially in a game like this when it’s possibly the two most talented teams in the League.”
The Avalanche cut it to 3-1 at 17:11 of the first. Rantanen passed to Nathan MacKinnon, who shot five-hole from the right hash marks.
Ritchie increased the lead to 4-1 with a power-play goal at 5:39 of the second period. Ilya Mikheyev shot from the left point and Wayne Simmonds slid the puck to Ritchie for a backhand.
Makar made it 4-2 at 16:46, circling into the high slot for a shot glove side.
Landeskog made it 4-3 at 10:06 of the third period with a backhand off the top of Campbell’s left pad.
“We’re a resilient group in there,” Toews said. “We were still a little shaky and [Francouz] made some big saves for us and kind of gave us a little bit of time to get our feet going and find our work ethic.”
The Avalanche tied it 4-4 at 11:42 of the third. Rantanen made a no-look pass from behind the net to J.T. Compher near the left post for a shot off Campbell’s back.
“It is tough coming in here after playing in front of no fans,” Kerfoot said. “The energy was high. The crowd was into it when they started pushing it in the third. It was a lot of fun to be out there. I thought our start was good. The game flow kind of turned in their favor. They gave it to us pretty good there in the latter half of the game.”
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) January 8, 2022
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) January 9, 2022