Soderberg hat trick leads Avalanche past Leafs

Jan 14, 2019; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Colorado Avalanche forward Carl Soderberg (34) pursues the play against Toronto Maple Leafs in the first period at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

In what began as a 2-0 deficit, ended in a 6-3 win for the Avalanche Monday night in Toronto — a game in which Carl Soderberg led his team with three goals to give Colorado its first win in four games.

Soderberg’s goals were all scored in the second half of the game, but his late contributions to the scoresheet were the driving force to Colorado’s resilience.

The first period set the tone for the high-scoring affair that was to come, yet it featured zero goals for either team. Both Colorado and Toronto generated a decent amount of chances and the high-pace, offensive play that is typical from each side was on full display. However, both of the starting goaltenders Semyon Varlamov and Frederick Andersen kept it a tie game and they did so in different ways — Varlamov stopped five, many were high-danger attempts and Andersen stopped 13 Colorado shots.

Toronto came out for the second period looking like the stronger team as they had a sudden onslaught of goals early. The first was scored by Igor Ozhiganov on a wrist shot from the point. The shot seemed to catch Varlamov off-guard and gave the Leafs the 1-0 lead.

Almost immediately after, Toronto scored another, but Jared Bednar successfully used his challenge and the goal was reversed due to the Leafs player being offsides upon zone entry.

The crisis was averted for all of 52 seconds. Kasperi Kapanen gave Toronto a 2-0 lead on a savvy play from teammate Andreas Johnsson behind the net and, despite one goal not counting, the three quick goals were deflating for the Avalanche and it seemed as though they would drop yet another game on this Canadian road trip.

That is until captain Gabe Landeskog helped guide his team out of the rut and tipped in one of Tyson Barrie’s shots from the blue line similar to a handful of his most recent goals. The goal came off of a strong faceoff win from Landeskog and he skated straight to the net for the deflection and his 28th tuck of the season.

Colorado was still down 2-1, but suddenly there was a sense of hope and the Avs began to play with more confidence.

Mikko Rantanen scored just minutes later after chasing down what would have been an Avalanche turnover, and beating Toronto’s Nasim Kadri for the puck with a quick stick check that Kadri wasn’t expecting. Rantanen rewarded himself for his efforts finishing off the play by walking in and unleashing a wrister past Andersen’s blocker.

With a 2-2 score and both goals coming from the top line, it was time for someone else to contribute. In came Carl Soderberg. First, while killing a penalty, Soderberg chased down a loose puck and battled with a Leafs defender Jake Gardiner to force his way to the front of the net. Gardiner lost the battle and despite his attempt at hooking Soderberg’s stick, the goal was still scored and the Avs had their first lead of the night to end the second period.

After a lack of shots from both teams to open up the third period, Mitch Marner broke the ice six minutes in. Mitch Marner beat Varlamov top shelf after catching a stretch pass that led him right into the zone.

About five minutes of tense play passed and Carl Soderberg stepped up again. Colin Wilson dug the puck out from behind the net and gave it to J.T. Compher who found Soderberg in a dangerous position in the slot. Soderberg scored his second of the night and would be good for the game-winner.

Matt Calvert and Soderberg would later score on an empty net making it a 6-3 final. With the final goal, Soderberg tallied his first-career hat trick and his 15th goal of the season.

It was a hard-fought, much-needed win for Colorado as they wrap up the Canadian road trip in Ottawa on Wednesday night.

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