Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko (35) looks on as Toronto Maple Leafs left wing Zach Hyman (11) fights for control of the puck with Canucks defenceman Tyler Myers (57) during second period NHL action in Vancouver, Thursday, March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko (35) looks on as Toronto Maple Leafs left wing Zach Hyman (11) fights for control of the puck with Canucks defenceman Tyler Myers (57) during second period NHL action in Vancouver, Thursday, March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Virtanen scores 2, Canucks pick up much-needed 3-1 win over Toronto

Maple Leafs were coming off a three-game sweep over Edmonton

Jake Virtanen scored twice, propelling the Vancouver Canucks to a much-needed 3-1 win over the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs Thursday.

Bo Horvat also scored for Vancouver (10-15-2), burying a snap shot midway through the third period to give his side some breathing room.

Pierre Engvall had the lone goal for the Leafs (18-5-2) with Ilya Mikheyev notching an assist.

Thatcher Demko stood tall in the Canucks net, stopping 32 shots. The Leafs got 24 saves from Michael Hutchinson.

Toronto was coming off a three-game sweep of the Oilers, including a 6-1 win in Edmonton on Wednesday. Thursday’s result snapped a four-game win streak that saw the Leafs outscore their opposition 15-2.

The Canucks were playing without star centre Elias Pettersson, who left morning skate with an upper-body injury Thursday and is considered day-to-day.

Auston Matthews nearly clawed out a second goal for the Leafs with less than two minutes left on the clock, but Demko stretched out across the net for an eye-popping last-second save.

While the Canucks have struggled with holding leads this season, they appeared determined Thursday to not let another game slip away.

The squad started the third period with aggression, controlling the puck and peppering Hutchinson with shots.

Horvat got one past the Toronto netminder 7:56 into the frame, collecting a crisp pass from defenceman Alex Edler and instantly launching a blast from the top hash marks.

Horvat’s 10th goal of the season put Vancouver up 3-1.

Midway through the second, Toronto’s Justin Holl was called for tripping, leading to a big power play for the Canucks.

READ MORE: Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

READ MORE: Full Canucks coverage here

Despite the man advantage, Demko was forced to make his most impressive save of the night when Alexander Kerfoot and Mikheyev got a short-handed 2-on-1.

Kerfoot sliced a last-second pass to Mikheyev in front of the net and Demko deftly slid across the crease, stacking his pads to make the stop.

At the other end of the ice, Virtanen took a sharp-angle shot that snuck into the space between Hutchinson’s left shoulder and the crossbar to put Vancouver up 2-1.

It was the 24-year-old winger’s second goal of the night and his third of the season.

He opened the scoring 2:59 into Thursday’s game.

Virtanen muscled his way into Toronto’s zone with speed and chipped a backhanded shot on net. Hutchinson seemed to get a piece of the puck before it popped up and over the goal line to give the Canucks the early lead.

Engvall responded for the Leafs 17:15 into the period, sending a wrist shot from low in the slot over Demko’s shoulder to knot the score at 1-1 heading into intermission.

The Leafs and Canucks will battle again Saturday in Vancouver.

NOTES: Canucks defenceman Quinn Hughes played his 100th NHL game. He has 79 points (10 goals, 69 assists) across his career. … Marc Michaelis played his first NHL game. The 25-year-old left-winger signed with Vancouver as a free agent in March 2020 after playing four years at Minnesota State University, Mankato.

Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

CanuckshockeyNHLToronto

Just Posted

The Cone Zone campaign is in its 11th year to remind drivers to slow down when approaching roadside workers because roadwork is hazardous. (Photo: supplied )
Cone Zone campaign urges Terrace drivers to slow down around roadside workers

Over 200 roadside workers have been injured in the past decade, 12 killed

The Terrace & District Chamber of Commerce is hosting a virtual all-candidates forum for the Terrace council byelection on May 25 at 7 p.m. (Ben Bogstie/Terrace Standard)
Date set for Terrace council byelection all-candidates forum

Forum will be held virtually on May 25, at 7 p.m.

Galdys Radek poses alongside her car called ‘war pony’ which has photos of murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls from B.C. (Binny Paul/ Terrace Standard)
Keeping alive the stories of murdered & missing Indigenous women and girls

Gladys Radek on grassroots activism for MMIWG and teaching the next generation to raise their voices

A worker at Wee Geordies Liquor Store held at knifepoint on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. A female entered the store and grabbed a bottle of liquor and produced a knife and demanded money. She was not located. (Wee Geordies video surveillance screenshot)
VIDEO: Two stores robbed on the same day in Kitimat

The first incident was at 5:45 a.m. and the second incident occurred 3:30 p.m.

Do Your Part Recycling Co is celebrating 15 years of its operation in Terrace this May. (Binny Paul/Terrace Standard)
How a homegrown Terrace business became a vital cog in the regional recycling initiative

Do Your Part Recycling owner Kasey Lewis on how they started 15 years ago

A prowling coyote proved no match for a stray black cat who chased it out of a Port Moody parking lot Friday, May 14. (Twitter/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Little but fierce: Cat spotted chasing off coyote by Port Moody police

The black cat is seen jumping out from under a parked car and running the wild animal out of a vacant lot

A forest of dance-protesters outside the BC Legislature on April 11. These participants were doing the Dance for the Ancient Forest in support of the Fairy Creek blockade and against old-growth logging. (Zoë Ducklow/News Staff)
Arrests begin at Fairy Creek blockade on Vancouver Island

Five protesters arrested as RCMP begin to enforce injunction

A thunderstorm pictured in Fraser Valley in 2021. (Black Press Media/Jaimie Grafstrom)
Wildfire concerns sparked after 320+ lightning strikes blasted B.C. yesterday

Approximately one-quarter of the province is currently listed as being at moderate risk of fire

A restaurant server on White Rock’s Marine Drive serves customers on a roadside patio. Indoor dining and recreational travel bans have been in effect since late March in B.C. (Peace Arch News)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate falls to 411 cases Tuesday

360 people in hospital, up slightly, two more deaths

The Banff National Park entrance is shown in Banff, Alta., Tuesday, March 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Minister asks Canadians to camp carefully in national parks as season starts

Kitchen shelters in Banff National Park closed, trails on Vancouver Island will only be one-way

Names of those aboard the ship are seen at Komagata Maru monument in downtown Vancouver, on Tuesday, May 18, 2021. The City of Vancouver has issued an apology for its racist role in denying entry to 376 passengers aboard a ship that was forced to return to India over a century ago. Mayor Kennedy Stewart says discrimination by the city had “cruel effects” on the Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims aboard the Komagata Maru, which arrived in Burrard Inlet on May 23, 1914. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver mayor says sorry for city’s role in turning away South Asians in 1914

Kennedy Stewart has declared May 23 as the annual Komagata Maru Day of Remembrance

A crew of WestCoast WILD Adventures employees tackled an onslaught of litter left at the ‘Locks of Love’ fence at Wally Creek on May 2. (Anne-Marie Gosselin photo)
Litter woes consume popular ‘Locks of Love’ fence on B.C.’s Pacific Rim

Popular view spot near Tofino plagued by people hanging masks and other unwanted garbage

Vincent Doumeizel, senior advisor at the United Nations Global Compact on Oceans, as well as director for the Food Programme for the Lloyd’s Register Foundation, pulls up some sugar kelp seaweed off the French coast in April 2020. He was the keynote speaker during the opening ceremony of the inaugural Seaweed Days Festival. (Vincent Doumeizel/Submitted)
Let’s hear it for seaweed: slimy, unsexy and the world’s greatest untapped food source

Experts talks emerging industry’s challenges and potential at Sidney inaugural Seawood Days Festival

Troy Patterson, a Cadboro Bay 15-year-old, got a virtual meeting with B.C.’s environment minister months after he started an online petition calling for construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline to stop. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)
B.C. teen’s 23,000-name Coastal GasLink petition gets him an audience with the minister

15-year-old Saanich high school student and George Heyman discussed project for about 30 minutes

Most Read