Leafs win sixth straight in defeat of Avs
Denver, CO (SportsNetwork.com) - Phil Kessel scored twice as the Toronto Maple Leafs took a 5-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday.
James van Riemsdyk had a goal and an assist while Jay McClement and Nazem Kadri also scored for the Maple Leafs, who have ripped off six straight wins following a four-game losing streak. James Reimer stopped 35 shots in the win.
"It was a team effort tonight," said van Riemsdyk. "This could have been an excuse game with the altitude and back-to-back games. We didn't let that happen."
Nathan MacKinnon scored both goals for the Avalanche, who had a four-game winning streak stopped.
Semyon Varlamov was pulled early in the second period after giving up three goals on 20 shots. Jean-Sebastien Giguere allowed one goal on 20 shots the rest of the way.
Kessel got Toronto on the board just 3:56 into the first when Dion Phaneuf sent a long pass for Kessel that missed, but it bounced off the back board and came right back to Kessel for the quick shot in.
It was a 2-0 game at 17:41 of the first as Toronto scored on the power play as van Riemsdyk tipped in a Cody Franson shot in front.
Kadri's 13th of the season just 2:55 into the second chased Varlamov from the net, and Kessel victimized Giguere at 5:17 with his 26th goal of the season for a 4-0 lead.
"We got ourselves into too big of a hole and we can't do that with a team like this," said Avs forward PA Parenteau, who returned to play just over three weeks after suffering a second-degree MCL sprain that was supposed to keep him out for six weeks.
MacKinnon got Colorado on the board at 18:35 of the second, then made it a two-goal game 5:07 into the third when his wrister from the top of the right circle beat Reimer over the left shoulder.
That was it, though, as Toronto held off Colorado the rest of the way, and McClement sealed the win with an empty-net goal with over two minutes to play.
Toronto plays at Dallas on Thursday ... Colorado hits the road for three games starting in Florida on Friday ... Colorado had won the previous two games in this series, including a 2-1 win in Toronto on Oct. 8 ... Toronto went 1-for-4 on the power play, while Colorado was 0-for-4.
01/22 00:05:57 ET