The Maple Leafs were in Denver tonight facing the Colorado Avalanche. Post-Matt Duchene, the Avs are looking to bring about positive change and growth with a re-tooling and an insurgence of previously-acquired youth, like Compher, Raantanen, Jost, and Zadorov, and newly-acquired youth, like Girard, Yakupov, and Kerfoot.
Notably, the Leafs were without Curtis McElhinney tonight, who was put on Injured Reserve earlier in the day. The newly acquired goalie, from the Vegas Golden Knights, Calvin Pickard was called up to be his replacement. Pickard has played 86 NHL games, all with the Avalanche, the team who drafted him.
Additionally, the Leafs were missing Nazem Kadri, who may have suffered a neck injury, or possible concussion, in the last game against Arizona.
The Leafs have won 6 of their last 10 games, and sit at a +21 goal differential and a 50.02 “Corsica Adjusted” CF% for the season. The Avalance, similarly, have won 5 of their last 10, but with a -3 goal differential and only a 48.3 “Corsica Adjusted” CF% this season. Simply put, the Leafs should have had an advantage here.
The Leafs, and Calvin Pickard, would not get off to a good start this night. Nathan MacKinnon picks up a soft rebound off an on-net dump-in on Pickard, and buries a goal.
The Leafs would claw back, though, with a great rush from the 4th line: a controlled dump in from Leivo that Martin can easily recover, then a great effort by Martin to center the puck which hits off the Avs defender and in: