MacKinnon leads Avalanche over Leafs in a shootout
Colorado Avalanche's Nathan MacKinnon (29) scores a shootout goal against Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Ilya Samsonov (35) during NHL action in Toronto on Wednesday, March 15, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, March 15, 2023 10:02PM EDT
TORONTO - Nathan MacKinnon scored the only goal of the shootout as the Colorado Avalanche defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-1 on Wednesday night.
Mikko Rantanen scored in regulation for Colorado (38-22-6), which got 18 saves from Alexandar Georgiev.
Morgan Rielly replied for Toronto (40-18-9). Ilya Samsonov stopped 28 shots.
After a frantic overtime that saw terrific chances at both ends, MacKinnon beat Samsonov on a nice deke on the Avalanche's second shot.
Georgiev then denied Mitch Marner to seal both points for the visitors.
Colorado improved to 4-4 in shootouts, while Toronto dropped to 0-2.
Coming off Monday's 4-3 home loss to Buffalo where Toronto held a 2-0 lead late in the second period, the Leafs opened the scoring three minutes into the first when Rielly scored his third after hitting the post earlier.
The Avalanche responded on a power play later in the period when Rantanen's pass went in off Toronto defenceman Jake McCabe for his 44th.
Samsonov stopped Valeri Nichushkin on a short-handed breakaway in the second before Cale Makar nearly went end-to-end on a breathtaking rush, but saw the puck trickle just wide of Toronto's goal.
Georgiev matched his Russian counterpart at the other end by denying Rielly on a power play and Calle Jarnkrok from in close to keep things even through 40 minutes.
After the Leafs killed two penalties early in the third, William Nylander and Auston Matthews had a good chance on Georgiev.
Samsonov then denied Evan Rodrigues from the slot with his blocker to keep things even through regulation.
The big winger's 44goals are the most by a Finnish-born player since Teemu Selanne scored 48 times back in 2006-07.
Marner factored in on the game-opening goal for the 19th time this season, which trails only MacKinnon (20) for the most among all players.
WAITING ON GABE
Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog, who has yet to play this season, continues to work his way back from knee surgery.
Colorado head coach Jared Bednar said following Tuesday's practice there's still no timeline for the winger's return.
“Making progress,” Bednar said. “Gonna keep grinding to get back as soon as he can. I don't know when that will be. I don't know if it'll be regular season, beginning of post-season. It's all going to be up to him.”
Luke Schenn returned to Scotiabank Arena as a member of the Leafs for the first time in more than a decade.
Acquired from Vancouver prior to the trade deadline, the veteran defenceman rejoined the club after his wife recently gave birth to the couple's third child.
The Leafs selected Schenn, who didn't dress against Colorado, with the fifth overall pick in 2008 before trading him to Philadelphia in 2012.
“Coming into this dressing room, it's surreal,” the 33-year-old said Wednesday morning. “You appreciate what it means to play in Toronto, but not to the extent I do now.”
Artturi Lehkonen will be out at least four weeks with a broken finger suffered in Colorado's 8-4 victory over Montreal on Monday, adding to the club's season-long injury misery.
The gritty winger was scheduled to have surgery Wednesday in Colorado.
“One of our identity guys,” Bednar said. “One of the hardest-working guys on the ice in every single game.”
Avalanche: Visit Ottawa on Thursday.
Leafs: Host Carolina on Friday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 15, 2023.