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Tyson Barrie ignites Maple Leafs in first-period surge against Avalanche

AP

A quick goal by Colorado got Tyson Barrie’s homecoming off to a rough start, but Toronto’s dominating stretch helped him celebrate in his return to Denver.

Barrie had a goal and an assist during a four-goal burst in the first period, leading the Maple Leafs to a 5-3 victory over the Avalanche on Saturday night.

Auston Matthews also had a goal and an assist as Toronto earned its second straight win since Sheldon Keefe took over after Mike Babcock was fired Wednesday. Keefe coached the Maple Leafs to a 3-1 win at Arizona on Thursday night and had to survive a frenetic ending to earn another victory.

“Sometimes they’re not too pretty,” goaltender Frederik Andersen said of the win.

Nicholas Shore, Zach Hyman and Kasperi Kapanen also scored for Toronto, and Andersen had 34 saves.

Barrie, who was traded to the Maple Leafs in July, got a warm reception from fans during a timeout in the first period. The defenseman spent seven-plus seasons with the Avalanche and left as the franchise leader in goals (75), assists (232) and points (307) at his position.

During a timeout in the first period the team played a highlight video of his career with the franchise and the fans gave him a standing ovation.

“I wasn’t sure how it was going to feel coming back here,” Barrie said. “It’s been an amazing place to call home the last few years and that really topped it off.”

Nazem Kadri, who was sent to Colorado in the deal, had two assists against his former team.

The Maple Leafs recovered after Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon scored 31 seconds into the game.

Shore tied it midway through the first period. Matthews put Toronto in front 67 seconds later, and Barrie gave the Maple Leafs a two-goal lead with his second goal in two games with 6:38 left.

“It was good for Barrie to get a big goal coming back here, in a place he spent a lot of time and that gave us some jump as well,” Matthews said.

Kapanen capped the eight-minute surge with his seventh of the season with 2½ minutes to go.

That chased Philipp Grubauer, who allowed four goals on 15 shots. Pavel Francouz had 12 saves in relief.

“I think the first period was a bit of a write off, we didn’t show up, so (we) just dug ourselves in a hole and it was too much to climb out of,” Kadri said. “Second and third periods, we were definitely the better team but the first period hurt us.”

Colorado crept back into the game with goals from Andre Burakovsky in the second period and Valeri Nichushkin in the third to make it 4-3. Nichushkin’s goal was his first since March 4, 2016, when he was with Dallas, a span on 92 games.

“He’s been having a lot of chances, just having some bad luck,” Burakovsky said of Nichushkin. “I’m real happy for him. He’s been creating, been having a lot of opportunities. Hopefully he keeps that up.”

Hurricanes 4, Panthers 2

In Raleigh, North Carolina, Dougie Hamilton and Brett Pesce scored to help the Hurricanes defeat Florida.

Hamilton also assisted on Martin Necas’ goal. Andrei Svechnikov added an empty-netter and Petr Mrazek stopped 21 shots for Carolina (14-8-1), which won for the fifth time in six games.

Aaron Ekblad and Brian Boyle scored for the Panthers (12-6-5), who had won three straight.

Carolina, which entered leading the NHL with 18 goals by defensemen, got two more as Pesce delivered the Hurricanes’ first score of the game and Hamilton broke a 2-all tie off a feed from Teuvo Teravainen with 2:15 remaining in the second period.

Lightning 6, Ducks 2

In Tampa, Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 36 shots and set a franchise record with his 132nd victory.

Brayden Point had two goals, and Nikita Kucherov, Pat Maroon, Anthony Cirelli and Ondrej Palat also scored for Tampa Bay, which has won five of its last seven games. Vasilevskiy moved past former teammate Ben Bishop atop the team’s win list.

Derek Grant had a short-handed goal for Anaheim, and Rickard Rakell also scored. Ryan Miller finished with 21 saves as the Ducks lost for the eighth time in nine games (1-5-3).

In Other Games

Canucks 2, Capitals 1 (SO)

Coyotes 3, Kings 2

Rangers 6, Canadiens 5

Bruins 5, Wild 4

Jets 4, Blue Jackets 3

Flames 3, Flyers 2 (SO)

Stars 2, Blackhawks 1 (SO)

Predators 4, Blues 2

Devils 5, Red Wings 1

Sharks 2, Islanders 1 (OT)

Oilers 4, Golden Knights 2