Ice Hockey - Maple Leafs continue upward trajectory against Avalanche

The surging Toronto Maple Leafs held off the Colorado Avalanche for a 5-2 victory and their sixth straight win.

Ice Hockey - Maple Leafs continue upward trajectory against Avalanche

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Toronto Maple Leafs right wing Phil Kessel (81) reacts to his goal in the second period against the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center (Reuters)

Maple Leafs 5, Avalanche 2

Phil Kessel scored two goals and James van Riemsdyk had a goal and an assist for the Leafs.

Nazem Kadri also scored, and goaltender James Reimer had 35 saves for Toronto (27-20-5).

The Maple Leafs have won six in a row for the first time since Dec. 23 2005 to Jan. 2 2006.

Center Nathan MacKinnon had two goals for Colorado (31-13-5), who had their four-game winning streak snapped.

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Devils 7, Blues 1

The New Jersey Devils blitzed the St. Louis Blues for three first-period goals and never looked back in a lopsided victory.

Because of brutal weather conditions that hit most of the northeast throughout the day, only about 2,000 fans were in attendance.

New Jersey (21-19-11) had seven different goal-scorers, while St. Louis (33-11-5) goaltender Brian Elliott was pulled after allowing three goals on nine shots.

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Blue Jackets 5, Kings 3

R.J. Umberger scored two goals, and the Columbus Blue Jackets beat Los Angeles to set a franchise record with their seventh straight win.

Ryan Johansen, Artem Anisimov and Nathan Horton also scored for Columbus (25-20-4), who have not lost since Jan. 4 in St. Louis.

The Kings (29-16-6) have lost three in a row.

Jeff Carter scored his 20th goal of the season for Los Angeles to tie the game 2-2 in the second but the Blue Jackets ran off three straight scores to pull away.

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Stars 4, Wild 0

After winning just once in their first 10 games of January, the Dallas Stars delivered their best effort of 2014, scoring twice on the power play in a win over the Minnesota Wild.

Defenseman Alex Goligoski chipped in a pair of assists for Dallas (22-20-8), who had four goal-scorers and also got 18 saves from goalie Kari Lehtonen, who earned his second shutout of the season and 24th of his career.

Darcy Kuemper stopped 32 shots for the Wild (27-20-5), who were outshot 36-18.

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Senators 2, Capitals 0

The Ottawa Senators received goals from centers Kyle Turris and Jason Spezza and a 34-save effort from goaltender Craig Anderson in a win over the Capitals.

Washington's loss was their sixth in a row (0-4-2), their longest skid since dropping eight straight in December 2010.

NHL leading goal-scorer Alex Ovechkin missed the game for the Capitals (22-20-8) with a lower-body injury.

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Panthers 4, Sabres 3

Sean Bergenheim and Ed Jovanovski scored late in the first period as the Florida Panthers beat the Buffalo Sabres.

Florida (20-23-7) trailed 2-1 before their surge in the opening period, and they took a 4-2 lead after Nick Bjugstad's goal in the second.

Goaltender Tim Thomas made 32 saves for the Panthers, while Drew Stafford scored twice for the Sabres (13-28-7).

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Islanders 5, Rangers 3

Thomas Vanek's tie-breaking goal with 4:38 left in regulation powered the New York Islanders to a win over the New York Rangers.

The score was tied 3-3 when Vanek struck, and Frans Nielsen added the last score for the Islanders (21-24-7) in the final seconds.

Matt Martin, Thomas Hickey and Colin McDonald also scored for the Islanders (21-24-7), who have won 11 of 16.

Rick Nash scored twice and Chris Kreider added another goal for the Rangers, who fell to 27-22-3.

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