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Toronto Maple Leafs beat Avalanche 8-3 on return of Nathan MacKinnon

TORONTO – All-star center Nathan MacKinnon returned to the lineup on Wednesday and the Avalanche was blown away. Much like it happened earlier this season.

Toronto superstar Auston Matthews scored three goals – his second to cap his first quarter of the third period – and the Maple Leafs beat Colorado, 8-3, in front of a crowd of 18,931 at Scotiabank Arena.

The Avs were beaten 6-3 in Washington on October 16 after MacKinnon missed the first two games of the season due to COVID protocol. MacKinnon, who had two assists and generally played well against the Leafs, had missed the previous eight games before Wednesday with a lower-body injury.

Colorado (11-7-1), fell to 4-5 on the road. Toronto won its 17th game in the lead in the NHL and is 17-6-1.

Matthews and the Maple Leafs feasted on Avs goaltender Jonas Johansson, who became the starter after Darcy Kuemper suffered an upper-body injury earlier in the day, likely in the morning practice he attended. participated. Kuemper was unable to serve as a substitute and Colorado started the game with Toronto’s designated emergency substitute, University of Toronto goaltender Jett Alexander, on the bench.

The Avs recalled young goaltender Justus Annunen earlier in the day from the AHL Colorado Eagles and, after an eventful afternoon of travel, he replaced Alexander on the bench to start the second period. Johannson played the entire game, allowing three goals in each of the first and third periods.

The Avs closed to 3-2 in the second period, but trailed 5-2 after 40 minutes. Johansson gave up a long shot from defenseman Travis Dermott at 12:44 – just 47 seconds after former Leafs forward Nazem Kadri got Colorado within one. Johansson then allowed Toronto captain John Tavares a goal, who slapped his own rebound from the crease at 4:28 pm.

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