Nathan MacKinnon appeared more aggravated than disappointed Saturday night following the Avalanche’s comeback fell short from the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs, who survived a late onslaught by the Avs and won 5-3 following scoring an empty-net aim with a second remaining at the Pepsi Center.
The Leafs were healthy, sans Mitch Marner. The Avs were not more beat up at any moment in the previous 15 years than in the section that is key-player.
MacKinnon, who scored on his first change, stated the obvious: Colorado is only trying to live without top-line wingers Mikko Rantanen along with Gabe Landeskog and significant role-playing forward Colin Wilson and Matt Calvert. Instead, they re each out together with Rantanen missing his game Saturday, Landeskog along with Wilson out 12 and Calvert his next party.
With those veteran forward in the lineup, possibly the Avs don’t let four goals to end the first phase. And without doubt, the Avs would have had much firepower to scale back from their 4-1 deficit with those four guys.
“We had a good change and after that the interval was theirs. It was a good (closing ) 40 minutes. We’re fighting,” MacKinnon said. “We’re weathering these accidents. This is not our (expletive) staff ) It’s not a justification. But we’re missing 200 points from this past year. Just trying to keep grinding, becoming improved, before those guys get better and we have a big second half. ”
The Avs have really already gone a in their last eight matches.
Former Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie, playing for the first time in the Pepsi Center because his July 1 trade for Toronto, had a goal and an assist to lead the Maple Leafs to their second-straight triumph with fresh head coach Sheldon Keefe, who took over for the fired Mike Babcock on Wednesday.
Barrie, Colorado’s points leader among defensemen, aided and scored first-period aims as the Leafs rallied from a 1-0 deficit. The Avs got targets from Andre Burakovsky (power play) and Valeri Nichushkin to get within 4-3 but Colorado’s enormous push in the last two minutes together with goalie Pavel Francouz pulled for a sixth attacker failed to produce, along with Zach Hyman scored about the empty-net in 19:59.
Francouz replaced rookie Philipp Grubauer to start the second phase. Francouz stopped 12-of-12 shots during a time Colorado outshot Toronto 29-13.
Barrie along with the Avs’ Nazem Kadri would be the important players in the commerce on July 1. Kadri, who’d spent his first nine seasons with the Leafs, had 2 assists — the initial arrival on MacKinnon’s goal 31 seconds into the game.
“I think that the first phase was a small write-off. We didn’t show up,” Kadri said. “Dug ourselves a hole and it was too far to climb out of. Third and second period, we were certainly the better team. But we are hurt by period. ”
The Avs and Leafs meet again Dec. 4 in Toronto, in Kadri’s instant game against his former team.
“It was for certain. It was weird,” Kadri said of the first game against the Leafs. “Had to check back on jersey to ensure I was playing a couple times. However, it was enjoyable. We competed hard but didn’t get exactly the result we wanted. ”
Footnotes. Barrie, Kadri and Avs forward Alex Kerfoot were starters for their own teams. Kerfoot was in the July trade between the clubs. … Nichushkin’s purpose snapped a 91-game drought, dating to 2016 when he was with the Dallas Stars. … Former University of Denver standout Nick Shore scored his second goal of their period of the year 9:59 to tie the game 1-1.
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