Nathan MacKinnon noticed his five-game objective streak come to an finish Wednesday.
The Avalanche sniper nonetheless put the puck within the opposing internet to clinch one other essential victory for the reigning — and surging — Stanley Cup champions.
MacKinnon scored the one objective of the shootout as Colorado put in a stifling defensive effort to defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-1.
The lightning-quick centre assisted on Mikko Rantanen’s power-play effort within the first interval to stretch his level streak to 6 video games earlier than sneaking a shootout try previous Ilya Samsonov.
“Been enjoying superior,” Avalanche defenceman Bowen Byram mentioned of MacKinnon, who entered with 15 targets in his final 15 contests. “He’s the man that our group follows. When he is going, I really feel like everybody else is sharper.”
WATCH | MacKinnon lifts Avs over Leafs in shootout:
Avalanche edge Maple Leafs with MacKinnon’s lone shootout objective
Alexandar Georgiev made 17 saves for injury-ravaged Colorado (38-22-6), which has actually discovered its sport for the reason that all-star break to climb inside 5 factors of the Central Division-leading Dallas Stars with two video games in hand.
“That dedication to the way in which we now have to play to have success is the important thing to it,” Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar mentioned. “Some nights we’re pretty much as good as we need to be. Seems like just lately we have needed to win these hockey video games. We know they’re vital. Winning the division is not the be all, finish all. But definitely to have short-term targets like that and chase down the groups which might be in entrance of us is a part of it.
“It’s a part of enjoying with slightly little bit of stress, even when it is self-induced.”
Morgan Rielly scored in regulation for Toronto (40-18-9), which received 28 stops from Samsonov in a tight-checking, low-event matchup.
“There wasn’t a complete lot that we gave up,” Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe mentioned. “They checked extraordinarily onerous to point out you what a Stanley Cup-winning group does by way of the defending.
“They’re well-known for the offence that they will generate with their elite gamers, however they defend extraordinarily onerous and make it troublesome on you to get to their internet.”
After a frantic time beyond regulation that noticed terrific probabilities at each ends, MacKinnon beat Samsonov on a pleasant deke on the Avalanche’s second try of the shootout.
Georgiev then denied Mitch Marner to seal each factors for the guests as Colorado improved to 4-4 in shootouts. Toronto dropped to 0-2.
“Just discovering methods to win, enjoying good hockey,” mentioned the Avalanche goaltender, who was introduced in through the low season after Darcy Kuemper left in free company. “We’ve been enjoying actually good currently. We spend a lot time on offensive zone.”
Coming off Monday’s 4-3 dwelling loss to Buffalo the place Toronto held a 2-0 lead late within the second interval, the Leafs opened the scoring three minutes into the primary when Rielly scored his third after chiming an earlier shot off the iron.
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The Avalanche responded on a person benefit later within the interval when Rantanen’s go went in off Toronto defenceman Jake McCabe for his forty fourth.
Samsonov stopped Valeri Nichushkin on a short-handed breakaway within the second earlier than Cale Makar practically went end-to-end on a panoramic rush, however noticed the puck trickle simply extensive of Toronto’s objective.
Georgiev matched his Russian counterpart on the different finish by foiling Rielly on an influence play and Calle Jarnkrok from in near preserve issues even by way of 40 minutes.
After the Leafs killed off two penalties early within the third, William Nylander and Auston Matthews had good probabilities on Georgiev to arrange MacKinnon’s clincher after 65 minutes.
“We’re simply making an attempt to construct,” Byram mentioned. “We’re simply making an attempt to maintain it going and construct our manner into the playoffs.
“It’s not like a lightweight swap you may activate and off.”
Rantanen’s 44 targets are essentially the most by a Finnish-born participant since Teemu Selanne scored 48 instances again in 2006-07.
“There’s nonetheless plenty of video games left,” Rantanen mentioned with a smile. “I attempt to assist the group, and if I can do it that manner, I’m glad to try this.”
Luke Schenn returned to Scotiabank Arena as a member of the Leafs for the primary time in additional than a decade.
Acquired from the Vancouver Canucks previous to the commerce deadline, the veteran defenceman rejoined the membership after his spouse just lately gave beginning to the couple’s third baby.
The Leafs chosen Schenn, who did not costume in opposition to Colorado, with the fifth total decide in 2008 earlier than buying and selling him to Philadelphia in 2012.
“Coming into this dressing room, it is surreal,” the 33-year-old mentioned Wednesday morning. “You admire what it means to play in Toronto, however to not the extent I do now.”
The Avalanche face the Senators in Ottawa on Thursday, whereas the Maple Leafs host the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday.