Avs hope to rebound vs. Leafs

(SportsNetwork.com) – Stunned in the third period last time out, the Colorado
Avalanche hope to rebound on Thursday night and avoid a fourth straight
setback as they welcome the Toronto Maple Leafs to Pepsi Center.

The Avs hosted the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday and went up 2-0 on first-
period goals by John Mitchell and Jamie McGinn, but the Canucks responded with
five straight tallies, including four in the third period to hand Colorado a
5-2 loss.

Semyon Varlamov stopped the first 26 shots he faced, but ended up with 32
saves while allowing all five Vancouver goals.

The loss dropped Colorado to 0-2-1 in its past three games and 3-6-5 on the

“I mean third period we are up a goal and end up losing 5-2. It’s unacceptable
to say the least,” Mitchell said. “We have to be better, we have to find a
way. They come out and score a goal early, it’s 2-2. We can’t come out and
completely fall apart, you know, shut it down. We have to learn to respond and
come out and play hard after that. We just didn’t do anything and we certainly
didn’t help Varly.”

Colorado also lost defenseman Brad Stuart to a hamstring injury in the game
and the ailment could sideline him for the next few weeks.

Head coach Patrick Roy has opted to rest Varlamov tonight and will give Reto
Berra his fourth straight of the campaign and first since Oct. 21. Berra has
never before faced Toronto.

The Maple Leafs also hope to rebound tonight after losing a 3-2 decision to
Arizona on Tuesday. That snapped a three-game winning streak for Toronto and
was the club’s first regulation road loss of the season (3-1-1).

James Reimer made his second straight start in net, ending with 30 saves.
However, he was beaten for a pair of goals in the first period and Toronto
trailed by three before getting power-play tallies from Dion Phaneuf and Cody

“Terrible start and we just weren’t able to overcome it,” said Toronto head
coach Randy Carlyle. “It seemed like we were in neutral and they were in third

Phil Kessel assisted on both goals, giving him a pair of tallies and six
assists over a four-game point streak. He is tied for third in the NHL with 16

Jonathan Bernier figures to get the start in net tonight for Toronto and has
yielded two goals or fewer in four of his past five starts. He has faced the
Avalanche just once before as a starter while also making a relief appearance
against them.

The Maple Leafs picked up their second straight win over the Avalanche with a
3-2 overtime victory at home on Oct. 14. Kessel scored the winner 34 seconds
into the extra frame and Reimer finished with 22 saves.

Toronto has won three straight in Colorado.

Varlamov stopped 37 shots for the Avs.