TORONTO – The Toronto Maple Leafs earned their first win of the season at Air Canada Centre on Tuesday, a 3-2 overtime victory against the Colorado Avalanche.
Phil Kessel’s goal at 34 seconds of overtime gave the Maple Leafs the win. Kessel broke hard to the net around Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie from the left wing and swept a shot past goalie Semyon Varlamov.The Avalanche (1-2-1) continues its four-game road trip with games against the Ottawa Senators on Thursday and Montreal Canadiens on Saturday.
Toronto’s top line of Kessel, Tyler Bozak and James van Riemsdyk, which combined for seven points in the Maple Leafs’ win in New York, got things rolling with a goal at 9:54 of the first period. Kessel fed van Riemsdyk in tight, and the big left wing snapped a high shot past Varlamov for his second goal.
With Toronto muffing on a handful of clearing opportunities, Colorado eventually took advantage to tie the score. Ryan O’Reilly set up behind the Maple Leafs net and spotted right wing Jarome Iginla in front. Iginla’s shot was stopped, but O’Reilly stepped to the side of the net, corralled the rebound and beat Toronto goalie James Reimer for his first goal of the season at 13:14 of the first period.
The Maple Leafs outshot the Avalanche 16-7 in the second period, but it was Colorado taking the 2-1 lead when Iginla set up Matt Duchene in the high slot. Duchene drilled a shot that hit the crossbar and went in for his first goal of the season.
Duchene missed a glorious opportunity to put the Avalanche up by two goals early in the third period when he intercepted a pass by Maple Leafs defenseman Stephane Robidas and broke in alone from center ice. Robidas recovered to get a stick on Duchene, but the Colorado center got a shot off that Reimer stopped.
Colorado defenseman Brad Stuart’s clearing attempt midway through the period was intercepted by Toronto’s Joffrey Lupul, who drilled a shot between Varlamov’s legs to tie the game at 10:36. On the next shift, Lupul was set up in front, but Varlamov stopped his hard shot.
A minute later, Kessel broke in alone, but Varlamov again made the save. Varlamov stopped 37 shots on the night.
ColoradoAvalanche.com contributed to this story.