Series (Game 1 of 1)

Toronto leads 1-0

Game 1: Thursday, March 24th
Maple Leafs4Final

Maple Leafs 4

(34-31-10, 78 pts)

Avalanche 3

(28-37-8, 64 pts)

9:00 PM ET, March 24, 2011

Pepsi Center, Denver, Colorado

1 2 3 T
TOR 2 1 14
COL 1 1 13

N. Kulemin (Maple Leafs - LW): Goals: 2, Assists: 0

E. Johnson (Avalanche - D): Goals: 0, Assists: 3

D. Phaneuf (Maple Leafs - D): Goals: 0, Assists: 2

Maple Leafs-Avalanche Preview


The Toronto Maple Leafs still have a chance to earn their first postseason berth in seven years. Beating a Colorado Avalanche team that's settling into its role as spoiler would help.

Toronto looks to run its winning streak to three Thursday night when it faces the Avalanche, who will also try to win their third straight following their first victory in Denver in nearly two months.

Five points back of eighth-place Buffalo in the Eastern Conference, Toronto (33-31-10) is seeking its first playoff appearance since 2004.

If a 3-0 victory over Minnesota on Tuesday was any indication, the Leafs could make a run at the Sabres, who visit Toronto on Monday in a critical matchup.

"You could just see the energy in our whole team," coach Ron Wilson said after his team improved to 14-6-5 since the All-Star break. "It wasn't just the goalie (James Reimer). Everybody was on top of things."

Reimer made 29 saves to improve to 7-0-1 with a 2.16 goals-against average in his last nine road games, and the Maple Leafs' top two lines made solid contributions after totaling two goals in the previous four contests.

Mikhail Grabovski had a goal and an assist, Joffrey Lupul scored, Nikolai Kulemin recorded two assists and Clarke MacArthur, Tyler Bozak and Phil Kessel each set up a goal.

The Maple Leafs, 7-2-2 in their last 11 on the road, last won three in a row during a four-game run Jan. 6-11.

Colorado has won two straight following a 1-18-2 stretch that ended any hopes of a second consecutive playoff appearance. The Avalanche (28-36-8), however, could still have a hand in determining which teams advance to the postseason.

"We have to play the role of spoiler right now, and we have to take pride in that," goaltender Brian Elliott said after Colorado snapped a franchise record-tying eight-game home skid with a 5-4 shootout win over Columbus on Tuesday.

The Avalanche, who ended a season high-tying 10-game losing streak Saturday, forced overtime Tuesday on Daniel Winnick's power-play goal with three seconds left in regulation.

Colorado last won three straight during a season-best 6-0-0 streak Dec. 10-19.

"Were not going to lay over and die here," All-Star center Matt Duchene said after scoring twice in the third period of the Avs' first home win since Jan. 24.

Toronto snapped a three-game road skid in this series in its last visit to Denver, winning 7-4 on Jan. 29, 2009.

The Avs, winners of four of six versus the Maple Leafs, posted a 4-1 victory in Toronto in the teams' last meeting Oct. 13, 2009.