DENVER (AP)Devon Toews scored 1:12 into overtime and the Colorado Avalanche rallied from a three-goal deficit to beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-4 on Saturday night for their franchise-record 11th straight home victory.
After Jack Campbell robbed Toews with a diving glove save in the third period, he beat the goaltender between the legs from the left side for his sixth goal of the season. Colorado hasn’t lost at home since Nov. 3 against Columbus and surpassed the previous team record of 10 consecutive home wins set three times before.
”We got into our game. It’s a resilient group in there,” said Toews, who recorded his 100th career point. ”We got to work, and you see what happens when we work hard.”
Auston Matthews scored twice in 33 seconds in the first period and Nick Ritchie added a goal early in the second two days after being waived to put Toronto ahead 4-1.
But the NHL’s top offense revved up in the third.
Gabriel Landeskog scored his 14th goal to make it 4-3 shortly after Campbell robbed Toews. J.T. Compher tied it at 4 with 8:18 left after a no-look, between-the-legs pass from Mikko Rantanen from behind the net. Rantanen assisted on the last three goals.
Alexander Kerfoot had a goal and two assists, and Campbell finished with 45 saves as the Maple Leafs’ four-game win streak was snapped.
”Soup played unbelievable tonight,” Matthews said. ”Honestly. I mean, some of the saves he made tonight, like one of them is going to be the save of the year, honestly. I think he did everything he could. That’s a really good team over there.”
Nathan MacKinnon scored for Colorado to extend the NHL’s longest active point streak to 13 games. Cale Makar added his 15th goal and an assist for the Avalanche, who have won four straight.
Darcy Kuemper was yanked after allowing three goals on eight shots, with Pavel Francouz making 19 saves in relief.
The game matched teams with a combined record of 40-16-4 coming in, with Colorado (4.30 goals a game) the NHL’s top scoring team and Toronto (2.41 goals allowed) the second-best defensive club.
The Maple Leafs dominated the first meeting, 8-3 on Dec. 1, with Matthews getting a hat trick.
After being outshot 7-0 to start, Toronto scored on its first shot when Kerfoot beat Kuemper at 7:54. Kerfoot then collected two assists as Matthews scored at 14:17 and 14:50 to give him 22 goals.
”We couldn’t do anything against (Matthews) in the first period,” Colorado coach Jared Bednar said. ”It was a man against boys.”
That led Bednar to call his timeout and pull Kuemper, who had won his last seven starts.
”I was trying to send a message to our group,” Bednar said.
After MacKinnon scored on a deflection off Morgan Rielly’s stick late in the first period, Ritchie answered off a no-look feed from Wayne Simmonds on the power play at 5:39 of the second for his second goal in 31 games to make it 4-1.
Ritchie, signed away from Boston to a two-year, $5 million free agent deal in the offseason, has struggled and was a healthy scratch a week earlier against Ottawa. He cleared waivers Friday after no club was willing to take on his contract, then put on the third line with Toronto short-handed.
”Huge goal for us. Huge goal for him,” Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said. ”I’m sure it does a lot for his confidence. I thought he gave us some good shifts.”
Simmonds, who is Black, and Colorado’s Nazem Kadri, a Muslim of Lebanese descent, wore anti-racism tape as part of a campaign by the Hockey Diversity Alliance. A video released on YouTube features racist messages hockey players have received on social media.
”We thought it was necessary, just because a lot of that stuff is behind the scenes and people don’t hear about it, people don’t see it,” Simmonds said before the game. ”Putting out there some of the things we do experience, it’s hard sometimes. Not sometimes, all the time. . It happens way too often.”
NOTES: Makar’s 15 goals lead NHL defensemen. … The Maple Leafs were without Mitchell Marner and Pierre Engvall (COVID-19 protocols) and Ondrej Kase (undisclosed injury). Kyle Clifford and Brett Seney were activated from the taxi squad and joined Simmonds on the fourth line.
Maple Leafs: Play at Vegas on Tuesday night.
Avalanche: Host the Seattle Kraken on Monday night.
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