DENVER – Fear consumed the Maple Leafs bench as they stood nervously by with Daniel Winnik lying motionless on the Pepsi Center ice. Authentic Sergei Bobrovsky Jersey . One of the most scary things that Ive been a part of and watched live, said Dion Phaneuf afterward. Though requiring a fine performance in goal and one unlikely hero, Toronto managed to rally in their fallen teammates absence. They scored a single point during a wild night in Denver, one that saw the Avalanche eventually emerge behind their young guns in a shootout. It was only 45 seconds into the action when Winnik was stood up at the Colorado blue-line by Jan Hejda. He fell backwards uncontrollably from the thunderous collision, his head and neck crunching violently against the ice. Laying there motionless and seemingly knocked out for an entirely uncomfortable stretch, Winnik was eventually carted off the ice on a stretcher, his eyes open and fingers moving. The bad part about it was he was out of it, said head coach, Randy Carlyle of Winnik, who played two seasons in Colorado. After reviewing it, yeah he did twist his neck, but the weight of his body seemed to roll on his shoulder more and into his back. He was lucky in that situation. Amazingly (and almost unbelievably so) Winnik is apparently okay. Hes 100 per cent fine, said Carlyle. He says theres nothing wrong with him. That may be hard to believe, but encouragingly given how devastating the injury appeared, Winnik was even up and walking around the dressing room during the first intermission. He offered his team a rallying cry in the process. Finish the game hard, he said. That was a relief because we were pretty bothered as a team when you have a teammate like that get hurt, Phaneuf said. That was a boost for us when we came in and saw him after the first. They rallied around his presence. Even on the scoreboard after that nervous opening period, the Leafs traded goals with the Avalanche in the middle frame, tying it up one more time in the final moments of regulation on an unlikely marker from the previously little-used, Richard Panik. They needed more than a few heroics from Jonathan Bernier to even get to that point, the 26-year-old making his first start in nearly a week. Carlyle called it a reckless game, one that saw chances galore from a pair of shaky defensive squads. Im sure it was exciting for the fans, but its never exciting for coaches, he said. Given the circumstance – Jake Gardiner was also lost to injury early leaving the visitors with 16 skaters – the Leafs were happy to snatch a point, though its clear they have much to improve upon after dropping both games of a brief stint on the road. We definitely deserved that point, Bernier said, and probably more. Five Points 1. Statement in Goal Bernier wasnt too thrilled not to get the start Tuesday in Phoenix – that was the original plan – and he responded with another fine effort. If not for him the Leafs likely get nothing in Denver. There were the back-to-back stops on Matt Duchene during a wave of Avs domination in the first. There was the glove snatch of Jamie McGinns point-blank attempt in the middle frame. There was the two-pad stack on Tanguay all alone in front early in the third. I think Im seeing the puck well, he said. Im fighting to see it as well. Obviously you want to make at least one save in the shootout, you had a chance to get more [points], but thats the way it goes sometimes. Bernier owns a .925 save percentage in his last five starts. 2. First Periods Much like a year ago, first periods have been a dud for the Leafs this fall. Outscoring opponents in both the second and third, Toronto has managed eight first period goals to 14 for the opposition. The trend continued Thursday night. Colorado struck on the very shift of the game on a goal from Nick Holden – ending the period with 19 shots. Carlyle has taken measures to fix the wobbly starts, intent on easing the tension before puck-drop. Those measures even include the odd hula-hoop contest, yes, hula-hoop. Ive found that it always works, Carlyle said of playing games and contests before puck-drop. It lightens your group up and it eases the pressure that comes with it. Despite another troubled start that saw Colorado outshooting them 12-4 at one point, the Leafs did rebound in the back half of the first, evening the score on the seventh this season for Phil Kessel. (Kessel missed the first six minutes of the third with an undisclosed ailment, but managed to return for the remainder of the game.) Toronto was one of the worst starters in the league last season, outscored 76-56 in first periods – those 76 goals against the fifth-most of any team. 3. Scoring First Inextricably linked to those first periods has been the matter of scoring first. Like most teams, the Leafs arent faring well at all when they fail to score the first goal. And they gave up the first one for the eighth time in 13 games against the Avalanche. I guess you could say that everybody would love to score the first goal, Carlyle said before the game. If you look at the statistics and the league historically…the team that scores the first goal I think their winning percentage is over 70 per cent. I guess everybody would want to score the first goal. The Leafs are now 1-5-2 when theyre forced to come from behind, 5-0-0 when they score first. 4. Young D Jake Gardiner was sporting a mean limp in the Toronto dressing room after the shootout loss. Gardiner was stung on the left knee by a Jarome Iginla shot early in the first, wobbling around for the remainder of what was a troubled 50-second shift. He tested the knee during a TV timeout, but clearly felt some discomfort. X-rays revealed no break, but a deep bone bruise. Hit him in a spot where no equipment was, Carlyle said. Morgan Rielly, meanwhile, sat as a healthy scratch for the first time all season – replaced by Stuart Percy. He and Carlyle had a brief exchange at the morning skate. We felt that Morgan needed to improve in some areas of his game, Carlyle said. We think theres more for Morgan to give. Morgans got to use his skating ability to play the game to a higher level. 5. Suspended Carter Ashtons NHL career was dealt a harsh blow Thursday. The 23-year-old, still searching for his first goal in the league, was suspended 20 games, without pay, for violating the NHL/NHLPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program. Ashton claims the detection came from an inhaler (not his own) he used during a pair of asthma attacks before the start of the regular season. Unfortunately, I incorrectly assumed that there were no problems associated with the use of this inhaler and I used it without checking to see whether its contents were permissible under the NHL/NHLPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program, Ashton said in a statement, recognizing Clenbuterol as the offending substance. However, at no time was I seeking to gain an athletic advantage or to knowingly violate the terms of the program. Ashton will forfeit $169,185 as a result of the suspension. Already on the fringes of the Leafs roster and just starting to play recently – he was a healthy scratch in the first nine games – this was not what Ashton needed, a mistake that could trouble his chances of getting back in the lineup. A lot can change in the more than six weeks hell miss and given his limited track record he is by no means guaranteed a spot when he becomes eligible to return on Dec. 20 when the Leafs host the Flyers. Stats-Pack 5 games – Point streak for Phil Kessel, who has three goals and 10 points in that span. 1-5-2 – Leafs record when failing to score first this season. 14-8 – Mark by which Toronto has been outscored in first periods this season. 2 – Points for Richard Panik on Thursday, his first multi-point effort as a Leaf. 31:07 – Ice-time for Dion Phaneuf against the Avalanche, his highest of the season. Special Teams Capsule PP: 1-2 Season: 20.4% PK: 3-3 Season: 83.7% Quote of the Night One of the most scary things that Ive been a part of and watched live. -Dion Phaneuf, on the Daniel Winnik incident. Up Next The Leafs return home to host the Rangers on Saturday. Cheap Columbus Blue Jackets Gear .A. Happ capped a challenging season with one of his best efforts of the year. Authentic Pierre-Luc Dubois Jersey .C. -- After a listless first half, the Washington Wizards used a big third quarter run to beat the Charlotte Bobcats Bradley Beal scored 21 points and the Wizards used a 17-0 run in the third quarter to take control of what had been a close game and beat the Bobcats 97-83 on Tuesday night. http://www.cheapbluejacketsjerseysauthentic.com/?tag=authentic-riley-nash-jersey . Ashton scored a hat trick -- giving him 13 goals in 16 AHL games this season -- to power the Toronto Marlies to a 5-2 victory over the visiting Lake Erie Monsters in AHL action on Sunday.PITTSBURGH -- Michael Wacha heard the chants. Then again, when 40,000 people clad in black scream your name relentlessly for the better part of three hours, its kind of hard to miss. The goal was to rattle the St. Louis rookie, remind him that 22-year-old pitchers arent built to withstand the pressure of an elimination game. One problem. Wacha doesnt really do rattled. He doesnt do pressure, either. The louder PNC Park grew, the more unhittable Wacha became. "I kind of like it," Wacha said. "It kind of gives me adrenalin. I kind of use it in my favour." And the Pittsburgh Pirates -- not to mention anyone else he might face in the post-season -- "kind of" need to get used to it. Wacha took a no-hit bid into the eighth inning and the Cardinals showed off their October poise, edging the Pirates 2-1 Monday to force a winner-take-all Game 5 in the NL division series. St. Louis is 7-1 over the last three years with its season on the line. "I think you take high talent and high character people that are motivated and support each other, and they dont give up," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "Thats a tough combination." One the Pirates are still trying to master. Pedro Alvarez hit his third home run of the series, connecting with one out in the eighth for Pittsburghs only hit in Game 4. It wasnt enough for the Pirates to advance to the NL championship series for the first time in 21 years. "I guess thats why we play five," star centre-fielder Andrew McCutchen said. "Well be ready for the fifth one." The Pirates werent quite ready for the fourth one, not with the way Wacha was dealing. He walked two and struck out nine before giving way to the bullpen in the eighth. Matt Hollidays two-run homer off Charlie Morton in the sixth was all the offence required on a day the Cardinals tossed the first one-hitter in the clubs lengthy post-season history. Trevor Rosenthal worked around a two-out walk in the ninth, retiring McCutchen on a popup to shallow centre field for his first post-season save. "It was a good pitch for him," McCutchen said. "I wish it got a little more of the barrel. It would have been a great story." Instead, a taut series will head back to Busch Stadium. Game 5 will be Wednesday, with ace Adam Wainwright starting for the NL Central champion Cardinals and rookie Gerrit Cole going for the wild-card Pirates. Both pitchers won last week in the NLDS. The Cardinals finished with only three hits, and that was enough. Holliday got two of them, including his homer in the sixth after Morton walked big-hitting Carlos Beltran to start the inning. "You could go back and look at pitches over and over again and second guess yoursself," Morton said. Authentic Alex Broadhurst Jersey. "I dont know where that pitch was. It was outer third somewhere, thigh-down and he went out and got it, hes strong." So was the 6-foot-6 kid on the one, the one barely a year removed from a standout college career at Texas A&M. Wacha didnt permit a runner until walking Russell Martin leading off the sixth. Wacha nearly no-hit the Washington Nationals in his last start on Sept. 24, surrendering only an infield single by Ryan Zimmerman with two outs in the ninth. Working so quickly the Pirates never had time to get settled, he breezed through Pittsburghs revamped lineup like he was in extended spring training. Mixing his fastball and changeup masterfully, Wacha overwhelmed the Pirates from the moment he stepped onto the mound. Alvarez got the fans at PNC Park roaring with his homer, and Wacha followed by walking Martin on four pitches. Carlos Martinez relieved and Gold Glove catcher Yadier Molina made a key play, throwing out pinch-runner Josh Harrison after a botched hit-and-run attempt. Martinez struck out Jose Tabata to end the eighth, and Rosenthal took over to begin the ninth. Neil Walker drew a two-out walk before McCutchen made the final out. "Thats what its all about," Rosenthal said. "Thats what you dream of, you dream of two outs in the bottom of the ninth, you know ... bases loaded, the best hitter up, and getting out of that spot." One the Cardinals rarely found themselves in on a day Wacha showed hes just a big a part of his teams present as he is its megawatt future. McCutchen came into the game hitting .538 in the post-season but looked at a 97 mph fastball for strike three in the first. Marlon Byrd, Pittsburghs most consistent player since being acquired from the Mets in late August, watched a full-count heater in the second that sent him walking back to the dugout in disbelief. It was a look repeated time and again by Byrd and the rest of his baffled teammates. Wacha struck out five of the first seven batters. "He went out and hit his spots and it seemed like everything we were hitting, we were just missing, just missing," McCutchen said. Martin remained Pittsburghs lone baserunner until the eighth. Wacha fell behind 3-1 and Alvarez hit a 93 mph fastball at the knees onto the concourse in right-centre. The jolt, however, faded when Molina nailed Harrison at second minutes later to set up a 24th -- and final -- meeting between two teams that have been shadowing each other all summer and into the fall. NOTES: Wacha was the 19th overall pick in the 2012 draft. He earned his first major league win on June 11. ... A.J. Burnett pitched Game 1 for Pittsburgh, but manager Clint Hurdle picked Cole to move ahead and start Game 5. cheap falcons jerseys cheap ravens jerseys cheap bills jerseys cheap bears jerseys cheap bengals jerseys cheap cowboys jerseys cheap lions jerseys cheap texans jerseys cheap colts jerseys cheap jaguars jerseys cheap chiefs jerseys cheap rams jerseys cheap dolphins jerseys cheap vikings jerseys cheap saints jerseys cheap giants jerseys cheap jets jerseys cheap eagles jerseys cheap steelers jerseys cheap 49ers jerseys ' ' '