So, you know that thing where Semyon Varlamov has been utterly brilliant in goal for his last half-dozen or so starts? Yeah, apparently no one let the Toronto Maple Leafs know about it. They teed off on the Avalanche goalie, scoring seven goals on just 21 shots. Varlamov was due to regress to mere human averages at some point, but did he have to do it all at once?
For the 23rd game this season (and 8th in a row), Colorado got on the board first. Jack Skille continues to provide scoring on the 4th line, catching a brilliant cross-ice Erik Johnson pass and burying in the wide-open net (Video). A pair of Avalanche penalties would put the Leafs on the power play twice later during the opening period, and they would convert on both -- first on a Leo Komarov goal (Video) and later on a Joffrey Lupul score -- to put the away team up 2-1.
The second period was more back-and-forth, with John Mitchell scoring at the end of a good 3rd-line shift (Video), Komarov again on another Toronto power play (Video), and then Erik Johnson pinching in an Avalanche power play. Neither team appeared to have much interest in defense and goaltending this evening, but the period would end all knotted-up 3-3 (Video).
The Avalanche haven't played many 3rd Periods recently where they've had to play actual hockey and not just crawl into a shell for twenty minutes -- it showed. The train began coming off the tracks early. Just 49 seconds into the period, the Leafs got a 2-on-2 opportunity and THE Tyler Bozak got off a shot the just leaked past Varlamov's pads (Video). He'd do it again six minutes later unassisted when he stole a Blake Comeau pass at the blue line and scored on a breakaway to make the game 5-3 (Video). And the James Van Riemsdyk decided he'd score (Video), and then Bozak decided he'd score on an empty net for his third goal of the game (Video). Jack Skille would put a second goal in the net before time ran out (Video), but it was way too little, way too late. The Avs' winning streak would end at five -- in spectacularly bad fashion.
Tyler Bozak - Hat trick, 'nuff said. Anyone we can trade for him and a 2nd?
- Mikhail Grigorenko - Plus-11 tonight CF to lead the team. His 4th line assignment belies the contributions he's making to this team. He's demonstrating he can be an important piece on this team moving forward.
- Leafs' Power Play - Give credit where credit it due. Kept them in the game long enough to open the flood gates.
- Semyon Varlamov - Yeah, you've been in the other category just about every night the past two weeks, but not tonight. Maybe you needed a night off, maybe Toronto was just too good. Either way, Colorado needed a better effort.
- Avs' Penalty Kill - The other guys on the ice during this catastrophe can take some blame too. Tonight's effort flat-out sucked.
- Jarome Iginla - Minus-7 CF tonight to, once again, lead the team in negative possession. This is becoming a major problem.