J.T. Miller completed the comeback for the Vancouver Canucks Saturday, lifting the team to a 4-2 victory over the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs.
Miller and Brock Boeser each had a goal and two assists for Vancouver (11-15-2), while Bo Horvat registered one of each. Nils Hoglander also scored.
John Tavares and Jimmy Vesey Toronto (18-6-2) responded for Toronto.
Goalie Frederik Andersen had 27 saves for Toronto and Vancouver’s Thatcher Demko stopped 37-of-39 shots.
It was the second game in a row where the Canucks have topped the Leafs. Vancouver also took a 3-1 decision on Thursday.
It’s the first time this season that Toronto has suffered back-to-back losses in regulation, and the first time since Jan. 30 that the Canucks have secured two wins in a row.
Vancouver was down 2-1 heading into the final frame Saturday, but scored a trio of unanswered goals.
The finale came 16:57 into the period when rookie Hoglander blasted a shot from the left faceoff dot, clanking the puck off the cross bar and in for his fifth goal of the season.
Vancouver caught a break earlier in the third when William Nylander was called for delay of game for sending the puck over the glass as he charged toward the Canucks zone.
Boeser sent a blast from near the blue line through traffic in front of the Leafs net, and Horvat tipped it in past Andersen to knot the score at 2-2.
Boeser registered his 100th career assist on the play. He got another helped 42 seconds later, picking the puck of a Toronto stick deep in the Leafs’ zone and firing a shot at Andersen. The goalie made the stop but Miller got to the rebound and rifled it in to the back of the net with just over 10 minutes left on the clock.
Toronto had dominated much of the third period, not allowing Vancouver a single shot until more than six minutes in.
Midway through the second, Brandon Sutter nearly gave Vancouver a short-handed goal, trying to stuff a shot through Andersen’s pads, but the Leafs goalie withstood the barrage.
Andersen showed how dialed in he was earlier in the period when J.T. Miller took a low shot from the top of the face off circle. The netminder followed it through traffic before expertly plucking it from the air with a glove save.
The Leafs got some breathing room 3:04 into the second. Jason Spezza delivered a solid pass to T.J. Brodie in the slot and the defenceman instantly sent it to Vessey at the side of the net. Vessey blasted a shot over a sprawling Demko to put Toronto up 2-1.
Tavares tied the game 15:56 into the first period after Alexander Kerfoot put a cross-ice pass on his tape through traffic. Tavares took a few strides before unleashing a slap shot that beat Demko stick side.
The Canucks took a 1-0 lead less than five minutes into Saturday’s game, capitalizing on a power play after Auston Matthews was called for high-sticking.
Miller sent Boeser a crisp pass from the goal line as the right-winger stepped in front of the net. Boeser fired the puck over Andersen’s glove for his 13th goal of the season.
Vancouver was 2-for-2 on the power play Saturday. Toronto couldn’t convert on its lone opportunity with the man advantage.
Victory formation. pic.twitter.com/kVedR4I4FG
— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) March 7, 2021
NOTES: Canucks centre Elias Pettersson missed his second straight game with an upper-body injury. He’s considered day-to-day. … Vancouver defenceman Alex Edler played his 900th career game. … Before the game, a video tribute commemorating the life of Walter Gretzky was shown on the big screen. A moment of silence followed.
THE CANADIAN PRESS