TORONTO — The Colorado Avalanche can only improve after they lost 10-1 Saturday night to the Montreal Canadiens.
They will not have long to linger on the humiliation. They play the Toronto Maple Leafs Sunday night at the Air Canada Centre.
The Maple Leafs come home on a high after defeating the Bruins in Boston 4-1 on Saturday night.
It was only the third win on the road this season (3-6-5) for the Maple Leafs. They also ended a three-game losing streak.
“I never thought much about that, it was just winning the game and we feel we've been getting better,” Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said about improving on the road. “The last three games the first period kind of did us in, we didn't start on time and it was nice to see that we started, we were able to hold on. It wasn't the start we wanted but we didn't give up the goals, not because we had any, but because the guys battled. And then we were able to execute a little bit.”
The Avalanche were down 5-0 only 8:41 into the game in Montreal.
“Tough to describe,” Colorado coach Jared Bednar said. “I'm going to take the blame for that one because we weren't prepared to start the game. They're the best team in the league with the best record at home and we're all the way down in the standings and we weren't prepared to play. So that one's on me. … If you have one or two players who don't show up, then that's on them. When you don't have the whole team show up, then that's on me.”
The Avalanche (10-15-1) are 1-2-0 on a four-game road trip that ends Sunday in Toronto. They are 1-6-1 in their past eight games. Colorado defeated the Bruins on Thursday.
Colorado's starting goaltender Calvin Pickard three goals on 10 shots Saturday before being replaced by Semyon Varlamov, who allowed six goals on 16 shots through the end of the second period.
“If you look at the mistakes we made the way we were playing, it was inevitable,” Bednar said. “We pulled Pick to maybe try to spark our team. That didn't work. So we put him back in. He had a good third.”
The Maple Leafs, meanwhile, had good goaltending again Saturday from Frederik Anderson.
“Our first period, we didn't do anything,” Babcock said. “We didn't win any battles, we didn't skate. I thought we were way better in the second — we skated and had much more of the play. In the third period obviously it was great to get the win. (Andersen) played real well, especially early in the game, for us. He gave them the one there at the end of the second but was able to battle hard in the third.”
The Maple Leafs (11-10-5), who were outshot 33-20, escaped the first period with a 0-0 tie and outscored the Bruins 2-1 in the second period.
“Freddy made some big saves in the first to keep it a game and we kind of picked up our game as the game went on,” said James van Riemsdyk ,who scored his 12th goal of the season. “I thought the third period was our best period. I think we moved the puck around and tried to make plays towards the net and get them compressed towards the net to get those second chances.”