The Colorado Avalanche sent the Maple Leafs to their sixth-straight loss on Tuesday night, as former-Leaf Darcy Tucker and his mates downed Toronto 4-1 at the Air Canada Centre.
Tucker, who spent eight seasons wearing the blue and white, grabbed a goal and an assist while Avs’ netminder Craig Anderson was solid turning aside 30 of 31 shots.
Anderson was Florida’s backup goaltender last year but has appeared to steal the starting position on Colorado (4-1-1) from Peter Budaj. He came into Tuesday’s action sporting a stingy 2.18 goals-against average and a .935 save percentage.
Call-up Leaf netminder Joey MacDonald was not as sharp, however, allowing four goals on 28 shots.
In the first, Colton Orr got off to what’s become a customary first-period bout for the enforcer, this time duking it out with his numerical counterpart David Koci.
On Colorado’s first powerplay, defenceman Ian White bailed out his goaltender keeping the puck out of the net with his body as the puck was loose in the crease.
But White was the guilty party on the Avs second power play several minutes later, as he screened MacDonald on a point shot from Brent Clark, making it 1-0 Colorado.
Tucker, who was greeted by the Leaf’s faithful with a commemorative applause, got an assist on the goal.
Avalanche winger David Jones left a sour taste in the Leafs’ mouth just before the conclusion of the period to give the Avalanche a 2-0 lead.
Rushing in one-on-one against Tomas Kaberle, the North Vancouver native shovelled the puck into the open side of the net with MacDonald caught out of position.
Leafs try to come back
Summer acquisition Francois Beauchemin got the Leafs on the board early in the second on a power play of their own. The former Anaheim Duck blasted the puck through traffic past a screened Anderson to cut the lead to 2-1.
But the two-goal Avalanche lead was quickly restored by Tucker on the powerplay when a rebound directed off his skates into the net after Marek Svatos orchestrated a good solo rush to get in close on MacDonald.
This was the seventh powerplay goal Toronto (0-5-1) has given up in the last three games.
Several moments later the Leafs’ misery continued as a harmless shot from the corner directed into traffic in front of the Toronto goal, bounced off the head of Leaf defender Mike Komisarek and found its way behind MacDonald to make it 4-1.
In the third period, the Leafs looked lethargic and could not swing the momentum in their favour whatsoever as Colorado coasted rather easily to their second-straight win.
Rookie and third-overall 2009 draft selection Matt Duchene had one assist for the Avalanche, notching his third helper of the season.
Matt Stajan, Nicklas Hagman, and Jeff Finger sat out as healthy scratches for the Maple Leafs who won’t play again until Saturday when they face the New York Rangers at the ACC.