TORONTO – Jean-Sebastien Giguere returned to Toronto and outduelled the young goaltender who took his job.
Giguere made 27 saves and David Jones scored at 1:11 of overtime Monday as the Colorado Avalanche defeated the Maple Leafs 3-2.
Giguere signed as a free agent with the Avalanche after spending with the Maple Leafs that ended with him losing the starting goaltending job to rookie James Reimer.
While he has found new life with the Avalanche, winning both his starts so far, he doesn’t regret his time in Toronto.
“I had a good time playing here, even though it didn’t go the way I would have liked on the ice,” he said. “I have a bunch of respect for them. I think they’re going to be a good team this year.”
Reimer, who made 21 saves, gave credit to his former mentor.
“Obviously, I looked up to him as a kid, watching him play. He was one of the goalies I loved to watch,” Reimer said. “So to get to play with him last year was great and to play against him was a pretty cool experience, but all that seems pretty useless right now since we lost.”
Jones gave the Avalanche (5-1-0) their first perfect 5-0 road trip in club history when he buried the rebound of a Kyle Quincey shot past Reimer.
Daniel Winnik and Milan Hejduk had the other Colorado goals, while Phil Kessel, with his sixth of the year, and Nikolai Kulemin replied for the Maple Leafs.
Toronto (3-0-1) suffered its first loss of the season and failed to reach a 4-0 start for the second straight year.
Meanwhile, the Avalanche ended off their longest road trip of the season with a perfect 5-0 record. It’s their first perfect road trip of that length in club history.
After a scoreless first period, Kessel got the Leafs on the board just 19 seconds into the second. The sniper led a Toronto rush and ripped a shot past Giguere’s shoulder after crossing the blue-line.
Colorado tied it just over three minutes later at 3:31. Ryan O’Reilly brought the puck into the Leafs zone before passing back to a trailing Winnik, whose low shot beat Reimer through the five-hole.
“There’s a couple (Reimer) obviously would want back but he made a number of saves that sort of makes up for it,” said Leafs coach Ron Wilson. “It was one of those nights, unfortunately. They got some lucky bounces on two of the goals.”
The Leafs had a chance to take the lead later in the period, but Kulemin missed a chance at an empty net when Giguere was out of position and Clarke MacArthur was stopped on a follow-up chance.
Colorado’s second goal came on the power play with just over five minutes left in the second. With Tyler Bozak in the box for interference, Hejduk let a shot go from the right side that beat Reimer. The puck got through the traffic in front and just squeezed through a gap between Reimer’s left arm and leg.
Kulemin tied it up with just less than five minutes left in the third. The Leafs were pressing all period but Giguere kept them out until he was unable to hold onto a Dion Phaneuf shot. Kulemin was there to pick up the rebound and found the open side for his first of the season.
“I thought it was big point that we battled back to get, to be completely honest. We didn’t play our best 40 minutes. We were down 2-1 going into the third,” Phaneuf said. “I thought it was a big goal late in the game to get that point and to push it to overtime.
“We’re not happy with the loss but we’ll take that point and move forward.”