Wednesday, January 22, 2014
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Maple Leafs 5, Avalanche 2

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[January 22, 2014]  DENVER  Maple Leafs 5, Avalanche 2: Phil Kessel continued his torrid pace with a pair of goals as visiting Toronto extended its winning streak to six games.

James van Riemsdyk recorded a goal and an assist while Nazem Kadri and Jay McClement also scored for the Maple Leafs, who have won six straight for the first time since Dec. 23, 2005-Jan. 2, 2006. Tyler Bozak and Joffrey Lupul notched two assists apiece and James Reimer stopped 35 shots as Toronto improved to 2-0-0 on its four-game road trip.

Rookie Nathan MacKinnon scored both goals for the Avalanche, who had their four-game winning streak snapped by losing in regulation for only the second time in 12 contests (8-2-2). PA Parenteau registered an assist in his return from a knee injury and Semyon Varlamov allowed three goals on 10 shots before being replaced by Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who finished with 19 saves.


Kessel opened the scoring at 3:56 of the first period with his 25th of the season. A breakout pass by captain Dion Phaneuf missed the mark and caromed off the end boards but went right to Kessel, who beat Varlamov from the right side of the crease.

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Defenseman Cody Franson's shot during a power play deflected off van Riemsdyk and past Varlamov with 2:19 remaining in the first and Kadri tipped in blue-liner Jake Gardiner's shot from the left point at 2:55 of the second to make it 3-0. Kessel capped his fifth multi-goal effort of the season less than three minutes later before MacKinnon tallied late in the second and early in the third to halve the deficit.

GAME NOTEBOOK: Kessel extended his point streak to seven games, registering six multi-point performances along the way. The 26-year-old has collected six goals and eight assists during the run. ... Varlamov fell to 11-1-5 since his last regulation loss on Dec. 10 against Phoenix. ... Parenteau saw 12:06 of ice time in his first game since Dec. 29. ... MacKinnon's two-goal effort was the third of his young NHL career. All three have come over his last nine games. ... McClement, a former member of the Avalanche, scored into an empty net for his 200th career point.

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