Jake Virtanen scored two goals and Thatcher Demko had 31 saves to lead the Vancouver Canucks to a 3-1 victory over the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night.
It was the second multi-goal game of Virtanen’s career. Bo Horvat also scored for Vancouver, which snapped a five-game losing streak against the Maple Leafs while winning for just the fourth time in its last 16 games (4-10-2).
The Canucks did it despite playing without All-Star center Elias Pettersson, who was scratched with a lower-body injury and is listed as day-to-day.
Pierre Engvall scored for Toronto, which had a four-game winning streak snapped. Michael Hutchinson finished with 25 saves for the Maple Leafs, who suffered just their second road loss in 12 games (9-2-1) this season.
Vancouver, 0-13-0 this season when allowing the first goal, took a 1-0 lead at the 2:59 mark of the first period when Virtanen rushed the net from the left wing, cut inside defenseman Justin Holl and then lifted a shot over Hutchinson. Holl actually tapped the puck the last few inches over the line while trying to clear it from the crease.
Toronto, coming in off a three-game road sweep of Edmonton capped by a 6-1 victory on Wednesday, tied it near the end of the period on Engvall’s second goal of the season. The score came right after a Toronto power play had ended.
Engvall took a pass from Ilya Mikheyev and then cut into the slot, where he fired a wrist shot past Demko’s glove side.
Virtanen put Vancouver back in front midway through the second period with his third goal of the season on a power play, squeezing a bad-angle wrist shot from below the right circle between Hutchinson’s left shoulder and the crossbar.
Toronto nearly tied it midway through the third period when Auston Matthews broke in for a point-blank shot that Demko turned away.
About a minute later, Horvat scored his 10th goal of the season to increase Vancouver’s lead to 3-1 with a snap shot from the edge of the left circle off an Alexander Edler feed past Hutchinson’s glove side.
Toronto pulled Hutchinson for an extra attacker with 2:15 remaining, but Demko turned away a point-blank shot by John Tavares, and Matthews hit the post on another close-in shot.
–Field Level Media