NHL Game Summary - Toronto at Vancouver
(Tuesday, January 10th)
Final Score: Vancouver 4, Toronto 3
Vancouver, BC (Sports Network) - Alexander Auld dazzled with 35 saves and Anson Carter scored the eventual game-winner midway through the third period, as the Vancouver Canucks edged the Toronto Maple Leafs, 4-3, in an exciting battle at GM Place.
Jarkko Ruutu, Matt Cooke and Alexandre Burrows also scored for Vancouver, which has won three straight on the heels of a three-game skid. Auld made 16 saves in the third period.
"I really liked the way our goalie responded in the last two periods," said Vancouver head coach Marc Crawford about Auld. "He was probably the biggest reason that we got the two points tonight."
Chad Kilger, Alexander Khavanov and Alexander Steen each scored for the Maple Leafs, who have now dropped two of their last three contests following a six- game winning streak. Ed Belfour allowed four goals on 19 shots in the setback.
Holding a 3-2 lead in the third period, the Canucks pushed their advantage to two goals on the power play. With Clarke Wilm in the penalty box for holding, Daniel Sedin held the puck along the right half-wall and sent it toward the net. With heavy traffic in front, the disc deflected off of Carter's leg and into the back of the cage at 8:18.
However, the Leafs began to gain momentum with physical play and a great goal by Steen with 9:09 to go in regulation brought Toronto within 4-3.
With the referee's hand raised for an upcoming penalty, Steen weaved his way through the Vancouver defense and was hooked, causing another delayed penalty. Steen fought off the hook and, from a sharp angle, beat Auld with an off- balanced backhander from beneath the right circle.
Toronto was still given a two-minute power play and had several quality scoring chances, but Auld stood tall and preserved the lead. Late in regulation, Mats Sundin had a good look from near the top of the crease, but Auld's left pad was quicker and the Canucks held on for the win.
"We gave ourselves a chance to tie the game up right until the last couple of minutes," said Sundin. "Sometimes you come up on the short side of things."
This was Vancouver's first win over the Leafs since January 26, 2002.
Toronto opened the scoring on a tremendous short-handed individual effort by Kilger. He blocked a point shot by Sami Salo and hustled the length of the ice in pursuit of the puck. With Salo draped on his back, Kilger's turnaround wrist shot from inside the right circle found the five-hole and the visitors led 1-0 at the 4:41 mark of the opening period.
Ruutu's seventh goal with 7:12 remaining in the opening stanza tied the contest. Following a scramble in front, Ruutu corralled the puck below the left circle and, while falling down, beat Belfour up high with a wrister.
Later in the first, the Leafs regained the lead. Toronto forward Wade Belak worked hard along the rear boards to keep control of the puck and slid it over to Kilger, who skated behind the net. Kilger then fed it in front, where Khavanov's one-timer from near the right post made it 2-1 at 17:54.
Two Vancouver goals in the second staked the hosts to a 3-2 edge.
A costly turnover by Toronto's Staffan Kronvall led to the second Canucks goal midway through the frame. Kronvall committed the cardinal sin in hockey when he attempted a cross-ice pass from deep in his own zone.
The puck never made it out. Ryan Kesler picked it up and slid a pass across the slot for a one-timer by Cooke from the left circle that easily beat a sliding Belfour.
"(Kesler) made a great play, getting the puck across to me," said Cooke. "I just had to put it on net."
With 3:15 to play before the second intermission, Vancouver moved ahead. Burrows skated out from behind the net and fired a wrist shot from outside the right post. The save was made, but the puck deflected into the air and appeared to have been batted home by Kesler. It was later ruled that the deflection was actually off of Steen and Burrows was credited with the goal.
Vancouver improved its home record in 2005-06 to 16-3-3 and is now 14-2-1 when leading after two periods...Despite the loss, Toronto is 4-1-1 in its last six against cross-country rival Vancouver...Attendance was 18,630...The Canucks are 5-0 against the Eastern Conference this season...Kesler finished with two assists...Both teams finished 1-for-7 on the power play.
01/11 01:43:32 ET