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Leafs' struggles continue in loss to Canucks

Sunday, 11.14.2010 / 1:00 AM / Roundup

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Leafs' struggles continue in loss to Canucks
Vancouver continues Toronto's early-season slump by beating the Leafs 5-3. Mason Raymond's goal with 6:24 left in regulation broke a 3-3 tie.
The Vancouver Canucks continue to feast on the Eastern Conference. The Toronto Maple Leafs continue to struggle regardless of the opponent.

Mason Raymond scored at 13:36 of the third period Saturday as the Canucks skated away with a 5-3 win against the Leafs at the Air Canada Centre on Saturday night.

"Just before he scored, he had a great 3-on-2 opportunity and he missed the net," Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said of Raymond. "That one, he hit the net. It's funny what can happen when you hit the net, eh? It's just a funny thing."

The winning goal came when Raymond beat Jean-Sebastien Giguere cleanly through the legs from beyond the top of the left circle, stretching Toronto's losing slide to eight games. The Leafs are 0-6-2 over that stretch.

Vancouver (10-4-2), meanwhile, improved to 5-1-0 against Eastern opponents with its second straight win. The Canucks were 13-5-0 while playing out-of-conference games last season. Ryan Kesler scored twice for the Canucks, while Daniel Sedin and Dan Hamhuis also scored.

"We knew they were going to come out strong, and they did," Kesler said. "After the first intermission, we knew we had a game on our hands. We just kept battling all night. We didn't play our best, but we won. We battled extremely hard."

Fredrik Sjostrom, Phil Kessel and Mikhail Grabovski scored for the Maple Leafs (5-8-3), who have just one win in their last 12 games.

"I really liked our effort," Giguere said. "It's a disappointing way to lose, but we need to move on with the positives."

Toronto jumped out to a 2-0 lead as Sjostrom and Kessel scored just over three minutes apart before the opening period was eight minutes old. Sjostrom tipped a shot between Roberto Luongo's legs at 4:12 of the first period before Kessel scored his eighth of the season with a high wrist shot at 7:39.

The Canucks, however, tied it before the period expired. Daniel Sedin got his team on the board when he beat Giguere during a power play at 9:39 before Kesler notched his first goal of the evening at 17:01.

"Those guys work hard on the other side," Luongo said of the Leafs. "They threw everything they had, but we were able to sustain it. Even though they lost, you've got to give it to them. They work hard."

Kesler then gave Vancouver its first lead when he redirected Christian Ehrhoff's shot from the point past Giguere for a power-play goal just 56 seconds into the second period.

Grabovski tied it back up for the Leafs at 11:44 of the second, when he cruised into the Canucks' zone and beat Luongo high -- giving Toronto three goals in a game for just the seventh time this season.

Hamhuis iced the victory for the Canucks with an empty-net tally at 19:10 of the third.

"It's just a tough way lose, but we have full faith in everybody in here," said Leafs forward Kris Versteeg, who smashed his stick in disgust following the empty-net goal. "We've got to turn this around. We know we've got to turn it around."

Senators 2, Bruins 0 | HIGHLIGHTS

Brian Elliott stopped 31 shots for his first shutout this season as Ottawa blanked Boston at TD Garden and handed Tim Thomas his first loss.

Erik Karlsson and Daniel Alfredsson scored for the Senators, who won for the seventh time in nine games and won their third straight game in Boston.

"We just wanted to make sure we bounced back," said Alfredsson, referring to Thursday's 6-2 home loss to Vancouver. "We didn't want this to turn into a two- (or) three-game losing streak."

Thomas had been 8-0-0 this season, earning the win in each of Boston's victories. The Bruins were shut out for the first time and have lost four of five since opening the season with seven wins in nine games.

"I know you're not going to win them all. (But I) want to," Thomas said. "I thought it was going to be 9-0 after tonight. But that's hockey: It doesn't always work out the way you want it to."

Thomas stopped 31 shots, but he fell behind 1-0 midway through the first period when Karlsson got the puck off a faceoff in the Boston zone and wristed it through traffic and into the net.

The Senators took a 2-0 lead with 15:45 left in the game when Milan Michalek crossed the puck over to Alfredsson, who had an open net to shoot at. Alfredsson has 7 goals and 4 assists in 11 games.

"I certainly don't fault Timmy. He was good; he kept us in the game," Bruins coach Claude Julien said of Thomas. "I'm not going to throw anybody under the bus, but I'm not going to praise our team because we didn’t play well."

It was Elliott's seventh career shutout. He made his best save of the game in the second period, when he denied Patrice Bergeron on a shorthanded breakaway.

The Senators learned on Saturday that assistant coach Luke Richardson's 14-year-old daughter, Daron, had died. After the game, Sens coach Cory Clouston broke down when asked about it.

"I don't think anyone can (understand), but you can imagine and it is probably worse than what you can imagine," Alfredsson said. "It's tragic. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, and hopefully they can cope with this as best as possible."

Flyers 5, Panthers 2 | HIGHLIGHTS

Hours after signing Jeff Carter to a long-term contract, Philadelphia received a pair of goals from Mike Richards and Claude Giroux and rolled over Florida at the Wells Fargo Center.

Scott Hartnell also scored for the Atlantic Division leading Flyers, who are 8-0-1 in their last nine games and have scored 13 goals in their last two.

Cory Stillman and Mike Santorelli scored for Florida after the Flyers led 5-0.

Richards opened the scoring 12:14 into the game, when he split two defenders and ripped a shot past Scott Clemmensen to give the Flyers a 1-0 lead. Hartnell made it 2-0 at 15:38, tipping a cross-ice pass from Ville Leino into a corner of the net. Leino had a pair of assists, giving him 11 points in 12 games.

Richards now has 5 goals in his last five games after scoring once in his first 12 contests.

"I see his confidence building," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said of his captain. "He was flying out there. He was a noticeable player. He had a lot of speed in his game, a lot of attack to his game. I thought his line was good. I think he's been getting stronger as we go."

Philadelphia pushed the lead to 5-0 midway through the second period. Richards notched his second of the night on the power play at 7:46, when he one-timed a feed from Carter past Scott Clemmensen. Giroux, who last week signed a three-year, $11.25 million contract, punched in his first of the night at 9:11 as he tipped in his own rebound amid a scramble in front.

"It's great when they're going in, but we have to keep working to create our opportunities, and not have any letdowns," Richards said.

Richards hadn’t scored in 19 career games against Florida, which had been the only Eastern Conference team to hold him without a goal.

"He sure made up for it," Panthers coach Pete DeBoer said. "We hung with them for the first 12 minutes, but when you make mistakes against a great hockey team, the hottest team in the League, they make you pay."

Giroux quickly scored again as he blocked a shot from Bryan Allen, recovered the loose puck, then beat Clemmensen to the glove side with a forehand-to-backhand deke at 11:27.

"I just read the goalie and tried to think about what I was going to do," Giroux said. "The puck was jumping, so I just tried to get a shot off. It worked."

Stillman finally got the Panthers on the board when he deflected Keaton Ellerby's shot past Sergei Bobrovsky. Santorelli completed the scoring when he beat Bobrovsky with a wrister at 17:49 if the third.

Bobrovsky finished with 34 saves and also tallied his first NHL assist.

Coyotes 5, Blues 3 | HIGHLIGHTS

Ray Whitney scored three goals and matched his career high with five points and Ilya Bryzgalov made 35 saves to lead Phoenix past St. Louis at Jobing.com Arena.

Whitney, Martin Hanzal and Radim Vrbata each scored on the power play, and the Coyotes stretched their winning streak to three games. Vrbata had his first two-point game since the season-opener against Boston.

Whitney's final goal was an empty-netter with 1:48 left. He also had five points for Carolina at Boston on Feb. 8, 2007.

"Opportunistic, that would be the word," said Whitney. "The goals were very opportunistic. I guess at this point in the season I'm waiting to get going."

The Blues rank second in the NHL in goals allowed, but they've yielded 15 in their last three games -- all losses.

"We waited around to see how this game would be defined, instead of defining play ourselves," coach Davis Payne said.

The Coyotes broke on top early in the game. Vrbata redirected Keith Yandle's shot from the left point for his fifth goal of the season on the power play at 5:03. Vrbata's goal was the first Phoenix shot on net and snapped a streak of 22 straight penalty kills by the Blues.

St. Louis tied it on a backhander by Andy McDonald at 14:10 of the opening period. McDonald took a pass in front from Patrik Berglund and scored his third of the season.

"It was nice to see the puck go in the net," McDonald said. "We're not a high-scoring team, and (against Phoenix) we weren't enough of a defensive zone team."

Whitney's first of the season gave Phoenix a 2-1 lead. Blues defenseman Nicholas Drazenovic's clearing pass in front was redirected by Whitney into the net for his 325th career goal.

Whitney scored his second less than 5 minutes later. His shot from the left circle, on the power play, deflected off goalie Ty Conklin's right pad and behind the goal line at 10:28. That pushed Phoenix back into the lead at 3-2, after David Backes had tied the game on a power-play goal at 7:52.

"We're finding ways to win," Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said. "As a result, we're getting valuable points at home, so we need to find ways to pick up important points on the road."

Canadiens 7, Hurricanes 2 | HIGHLIGHTS

Montreal beat Carolina at the Bell Centre in regulation for the first time in nearly seven years as the Canadiens piled up the most goals they've scored under Jacques Martin.

For NHL.com's complete story, click here.

Red Wings 3, Avalanche 1 | HIGHLIGHTS

Detroit goal goals by Todd Bertuzzi, Dan Cleary and Jiri Hudler and shut down the Avs.

For NHL.com's complete story, click here.

Kings 5, Islanders 1 | HIGHLIGHTS

Make it eight straight wins at home for Los Angeles -- and 10 straight losses for New York.

Anze Kopitar had a pair of goals and an assist, Dustin Brown scored on a penalty shot as the Kings cruised past the Isles at the Staples Center.

Justin Williams scored for the sixth time in seven games, defenseman Drew Doughty got his first goal of the season and Jonathan Quick made 18 saves for the Kings, who set a franchise record by opening 8-0-0 at home.

Los Angeles won its first seven home games in 1975-76 and 1980-81. The Kings’ longest home winning streak overall is 12 in 1992-93.

The victory concluded the second 5-0-0 homestand in club history. The other was in November 1990.

"It's a huge start for us … these points are just as valuable as the ones at the end," Brown said. "We're putting them in the bank now and make our path a little easier. We're all feeding off each other and having a lot of fun."

This is the Islanders' ninth double-digit winless streak. Their longest was during their inaugural 1972-73 season, when they were 0-12 with three ties. They won their next game, then followed that with 12 straight losses.

Rob Schremp scored for the Islanders, who ended a season-opening 17-game stretch in which they played 12 times on the road. Only two of those away games resulted in victories, against Toronto and Tampa Bay -- both in OT. They have totaled just eight goals over their last eight games, three of them on power plays.

Overall this season, they have been outscored 40-16 when skating 5-on-5.

"It's pathetic," Isles captain Doug Weight said. "We've got to find a way to get 60-minute (efforts) going and find a way to win a hockey game. This isn't an internship. You're not racing to get a cup of coffee. You need to do other things in this job. You have to make plays and you have to put yourself in a position to execute. If you can't work hard when you're in a League of 750 people and get to do what we do, something's wrong. We need to work harder and execute and find ways to score goals."

For the ninth time during the Islanders' victory drought, they gave up the first goal -- and it came on the Kings' first shot on net. Davis Drewiske's slap shot from the right point struck teammate Dustin Brown, but Kopitar played the carom and beat Dwayne Roloson to the glove side at 1:23.

Kopitar, who led Los Angeles last season with a career-high 34 goals, made it 2-0 at 5:02 with his sixth of the season for his 300th NHL point.

At that point, Islanders coach Scott Gordon burned his timeout to settle his team. Schremp responded with his first goal of the season just 37 seconds later, beating Quick to the glove side with a wrist shot from the middle of the right circle. But the Kings restored their two-goal margin on Williams' goal at 3:15 of the second period.

"We can't afford to give up two goals in the first five minutes and think that we're going to come back -- especially when we're not scoring," Gordon said. "That's obviously a huge issue. As far as not being ready for the start of the game, there's no excuse for it."

Jack Johnson's screened wrist shot from just inside the blue line glanced off teammate Jarrett Stoll and Roloson made the stop. But he again had difficulty smothering the rebound, and Williams scored his eighth goal to extend his point streak to nine games -- tying a career best.

Brown made it 4-1 with his eighth goal, after defenseman Mark Eaton set up the penalty shot by taking down the Kings' captain from behind on a breakaway with 12:14 to play.

"I didn't really know what I was doing going down, but I figured I try the five-hole," Brown said.

The Kings killed off all five New York power plays, extending their streak of successful penalty kills to 22. Los Angeles has a league-best 92.2 percentage in that department, and has not allowed a power-play goal in 30 shorthanded situations at home this season -- the only team that's perfect on the PK at home.

Material from wire services and team media was used in this report.



Quote of the Day

I might have blacked out. I was pretty pumped.

— New Jersey Devils rookie goalie Keith Kinkaid on his first NHL win Friday against the Tampa Bay Lightning
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