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Recap: Maple Leafs beat the Avalanche with a lot of goals and Matt Murray

Leafs chased their starter and weathered the storm of the Avs trying to comeback.

Toronto Maple Leafs v Colorado Avalanche Photo by Jack Dempsey/Getty Images

It’s the defending Cup champs, what could possibly go wrong?

First Period

Denis Malgin in the starting lineup for the Avs, well played guys.

Leafs are hosting an open house for New Year’s Eve in front of Matt Murray.

Avs counter with a nice hospitable attitude of their own.

Gio gets booed for holding the puck too long behind the net. I expect he’s really concerned they don’t like him. Now Liljegren gets it. This is going to be a good game.

Marner with a great deke, but the finish was right into the goalie pads.

He thought that was just not good enough, so he did this one next:

1-0 Leafs

Great shot.

Oh, cool, just barely enough Leafs fans to boo Cale Makar when he waits behind their net.

Oh, nice one. An entire shift of amazing offensive power from.... er, the Kämpf line. The result? Pierre Engvall has no trouble scoring on a delayed penalty call.

2-0 Leafs

Naturally the Leafs take a penalty immediately for holding the stick on Denis Malgin.

Leafs kill the penalty easily for one minute and with some effort for the second. Avs clearly showing who is missing on that power play.

This Leafs power play is one zone entry away from being, you know, a power play.

JT Compher handcuffs Murray with his second try scoring chance

2-1 Leafs

Marner with a shot coming off of driving the net at speed, actually handcuffs Alexandar Georgiev, but he gets away with it.

Thoughts

  • The Avs are not as bad as they look so far, but Georgiev really is not playing well.

Second Period

Leafs get a power play just after the period starts. This one is way, way better:

3-1 Leafs

Bunting just hanging in the crease looking for trash to pick up.

Avs take another penalty a few minutes later, which is likely not a wise course.

Timmins gets away with the retaliation.

Huh, the Avs get a rush against (this a 5F PP) and the Leafs do fine defending.

Another power play:

Scrappy net-front play for the Avs results in a puck in the net off of Matthews’ skate.

3-2 Leafs

Pond hockey has broken out, and we’ve found the counter to Big Willie Styles. It’s the guy with the Norris.

Matthews, though, he wanted one in their net, and so he got one.

4-2 Leafs

BRODIE GOAL!!!!!

5-2 Leafs

Holmberg starts this off, and while Hunt looks a bit like he’s not good enough for Pontus, they make it work.

This goal chases Georgiev, and now one of the least capable NHL goalies is in net in Jonas Johansson.

The Leafs take the first of what is expected to be three or so penalties. Liljegren for slashing. He was chasing the play, you always take a penalty for that.

Malgin with the final chance on the power play, and the period has one shift left.

(still not traded)

Thoughts

  • You know the altitude effect? If the Leafs have it, I can’t tell. They looked like they were playing a little too fast for themselves at times.
  • All-situations, this game is pretty even because the Leafs and the Avs are playing the same style: allow us to take penalties, so you can get scoring chances.

Third Period

Prepare to see lots of David Kämpf. As long as this lead lasts.

Fourth line gets spun by Nate MacKinnon, so they need to watch the matchups. It worked out largely thanks to Murray, lets not kid ourselves.

Fans call a penalty the refs don’t when Rodrigues goes down.

The Avs are trying hard and keeping the Leafs away from their own net very well.

Avs are going to the power play as Kerfoot goes off for tripping. Leafs kill it.

Kerfoot gets the crossbar, on yet another great bottom six shift. Can’t emphasize enough how impressive both the third and fourth lines are, and Keefe is using them almost exclusively.

Avs pull the goalie really early — as they should — and the Leafs eventually get the ENG.

6-2 Leafs

No one really tries to do much in the final minutes but run down the clock, and even the fans aren’t booing the delaying tactics.

Thoughts

  • Auston Matthews finishes the year at 499 points.

Happy New Year, everyone!