Colorado (1-2-2) at Toronto (3-1-2)

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  • Game info: 7:30 pm EDT Wed Oct 18, 2006
  • TV: ALT, TSN
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The Toronto Maple Leafs hope Mats Sundin can help them win consecutive games for the first time this season when they host the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday.

Sundin scored his 500th career goal Saturday, when he completed his eighth career hat trick with a short-handed goal 50 seconds into overtime to lead the Maple Leafs (3-2-1) to a 5-4 win over Calgary at the Air Canada Centre.

“It’s a special way to get it. I’ll remember this day throughout my whole life,” said Sundin, who added an assist to give him his first four-point game since scoring twice with two assists in a 5-3 home win over Pittsburgh on April 18.

The Toronto captain has scored all four of his goals this season at home.

“We have the best fans,” Sundin said. “The team hasn’t won a championship since 1967. They don’t want anything else than for us to do well.”

Sundin—one of the most consistent players in the last 11 seasons for Toronto—is tied with Dave Keon for second in franchise history with 365 goals and is 17 points behind Keon for second in that category.

Sundin is 24 goals and 75 points shy of tying Darryl Sittler for the franchise records. He had 31 goals and 78 points in 70 games last season.

“It’s only fitting that he scored that huge, big goal in overtime because he’s done it so many times before for us,” Toronto right wing Darcy Tucker said. “It was nice to see the ovation from the crowd and all the guys sitting around waiting at the end of the ice. It was a very special moment for a lot of guys on the team.”

The Leafs hope Sundin can help them win consecutive games for the first time this season, as they have alternated wins and losses through the first six games.

They look to break the trend against Sundin’s former franchise—the Avalanche. He spent his first four NHL seasons (1990-94) with the team—then the Quebec Nordiques—before being traded to Toronto.

He has 10 goals and 20 points in 18 career games against his former club, including a goal and assist in a 5-3 loss to Colorado on Jan. 17 in the only meeting between the teams last season.

The Avalanche (1-2-2), meanwhile, are hoping to avoid their first three-game losing streak of the season.

Jose Theodore allowed four goals on 30 shots in a 5-3 loss to Chicago on Monday, including the game-winner to Martin Lapointe at 5:26 of the third period.

“Our goaltending wasn’t good tonight,” Avalanche coach Joel Quenneville said. “That was a tough one to give up. Jose will be better next time, but he had a tough night.”

Theodore is 1-2-1 with a 3.26 goals-against average in four starts during his first full season with Colorado. He is 5-10-2 with three ties and a 2.92 GAA in 23 games—20 starts—against Toronto.

The Avs acquired the 2002 winner of the Hart and Vezina trophies in a trade from Montreal on March 8 for goaltender David Aebischer. Theodore is 2-5-2 with a 3.14 GAA in nine games—eight starts—since the deal.

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Wednesday, Oct 18