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Avs beat Leafs thanks to Billington (1/27/97)



COLORADO 5, TORONTO 2

Craig Billington made 32 saves and Adam Deadmarsh scored 2:17 into the third period to snap a tie as the Colorado Avalanche ended a five-game road trip with a 5-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Toronto center Jamie Baker tried to clear the puck from the left boards, but Deadmarsh streaked down the slot, stole it and snapped a wrist shot over goaltender Felix Potvin's glove for his 20th goal and a 3-2 lead.

"Obviously it was a mistake," Baker said. "Unfortunately, it cost us the game. I was just trying to make a four-foot pass and I overshot it. When I see Adam, I guess he owes me a beer. I'm the goat tonight, I made a mistake and it cost us the game."

Billington improved to 6-3-2 in his second straight start in place of the injured Patrick Roy as the Avalanche finished 3-2 on their road trip. Valeri Kamensky had a pair of assists and Claude Lemieux added his first goal of the season and an assist as Colorado won for the second time in three meetings with Toronto this season.

"We needed a motivated, dedicated guy, one who would accept his workload," Colorado coach Marc Crawford said of Billington. "He's been perfect. He knows his role and he's been performing extremely well."

"There's a lot of character on this team," Billington added. "Each and every night it's different guys doing something special."

Potvin stopped 32 shots, falling to 16-27, as the Maple Leafs lost for the ninth time in 11 games.

Jon Klemm scored his sixth goal to give Colorado a 4-2 advantage just 87 seconds after Deadmarsh's tally. Billington made a save on a shot by rookie Zdenek Nedved and passed to Kamensky. Kamensky skated into the Toronto zone before passing to Klemm, who put the puck by Potvin from the left faceoff circle.

Lemieux's first goal since April 10th capped the scoring with 37 seconds remaining.

Adam Foote scored his first goal since February 29th to give Colorado a 1-0 lead 8:21 into the second period. He beat Potvin with a backhander from the bottom of the left circle.

"It's nice to get one, but it's not my job, it's just a bonus," Foote said. "I'm out there to cover (Mats) Sundin."

Larry Murphy put a slap shot past Billington from the top of the right circle as Toronto tied it 53 seconds later. Nedved's second goal of the season gave the Maple Leafs a 2-1 edge with 8:45 left in the second.

Colorado tied it, 2-2, on Sandis Ozolinsh's 16th goal, a power-play tally with one minute left in the second. Lemieux flipped a pass toward the goal that Potvin stopped, but Ozolinsh poked the rebound through.


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