Colorado Avalanche Must Bounce Back against Toronto

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 22: Nathan MacKinnon
DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 22: Nathan MacKinnon /
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The Colorado Avalanche want to steer their long home stand to a good direction against the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight.

The Colorado Avalanche are looking to bounce back as they host the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight. This marks the second of their six-game home stand.

The Colorado Avalanche are coming off of a game against the Arizona Coyotes in which they looked sluggish. The Avs ended up dropping a 3-1 decision at home against the Coyotes.

The Maple Leafs are on their second game of a back-to-back, having faced the Coyotes in Arizona last night.

All time, the Avalanche have a slight advantage over the Maple Leafs, having fone 16-13-1-2(ties). Last year the two teams faced each other twice. Colorado won the first meeting in Toronto, 3-1, but the Leafs shut out Colorado at home 6-0.

How to Enjoy the Game

Game time: December 29, 7:00 pm MT
TV Networks: Altitude 2 TV (Avs feed), SNO (Leafs feed)
Radio: Altitude Radio (AM 950)

Players to Watch

More from Mile High Sticking

When the Toronto Maple Leafs come to town, all eyes are on Auston Matthews, whom Toronto picked up first-overall in 2016. Matthews has missed some time with injury, but in his first game back, against the New York Rangers, he recorded a goal and an assist. He currently has 28 points (14 goals, 14 assists) in 27 games. He scored 40 goals his rookie year. He leads the Leafs in scoring despite having missed a total of 10 games.

The Colorado Avalanche have their own first-overall pick, Nathan MacKinnon. He’s been a force to be reckoned with since November. He’s been held off the scoring sheet for the last two games, so he’s looking to have a big game sooner rather than later.

They Said It

The Colorado Avalanche held a long practice after their 3-1 loss to the NHL-worst Arizona Coyotes. Afterward, a couple of the players and the coach talked about what they had to work on.

Rookie Tyson Jost talked about playing up to the standard the players have set for themselves:

"“We just got to fix some bad habits. Get back to the way we were playing when we were playing a full 60 minutes. Playing as a team and playing good hockey and playing to the standard that we set for ourselves at the beginning of the year.”"

Jost added that the players have to go into the game with the mindset, “There’s two points up for grabs. We need those two points if we want to be in the playoffs.”

Coach Jared Bednar opined that the team needed to have a strong start against the Leafs:

"“We have to have a good start against anyone, but tomorrows will be real important because we have struggled putting a 60 full minutes together here lately.”"

Forward Matthew Nieto got more specific:

"“[Toronto] is a skilled, fast team with a lot of dangerous guys. It’s just managing the puck, doing the right things with it. And wearing them down as the game goes on.”"

Since Toronto is coming off of the first game of a back-to-back, wearing them down definitely needs to be a focus for the Avs.

Next: 4 Keys for the Long Home Stand

The Colorado Avalanche will meet the Toronto Maple Leafs one more time, in Toronto, on January 22.