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Leafs lose tough battle in overtime

by Adam Proteau Proteautype / MapleLeafs.com

Ron Hainsey and Morgan Rielly each scored Wednesday night in Vancouver as the Leafs picked up a point in an overtime loss to the Canucks.

AFTER SCORELESS FIRST, LEAFS STRIKE TWICE IN SECOND WITH ONLY TWO GOALS OF PERIOD

The Maple Leafs were in the second game of a three-game Western Canadian road trip, and were seeking their third win in a row Wednesday against Vancouver. Neither side scored in the opening period, but the Canucks outshot Toronto 15-8 in the first 20 minutes.

However, in the middle frame, the Leafs reversed that shot counter disparity, as Toronto outshot Vancouver 11-4 and scored the only two goals of the period to take a 2-0 advantage into the third.

Toronto's first goal of the night came from defenceman Ron Hainsey, who finished off a 2-on-1 shorthanded rush with winger Mitch Marner to score Hainsey's fifth goal of the season:

Video: TOR@VAN: Hainsey nets SHG on Marner's gorgeous feed

As is often the case, the Leafs were quick to produce additional offence: just 34 seconds after Hainsey opened the scoring, blueliner Morgan Rielly netted his 17th goal of the year to double the visitors' lead:

Video: TOR@VAN: Rielly goes short side on one-timer

Rielly's goal was his second in three games, and it gave his side more confidence as they battled a Canucks squad that was aiming to end a two-game losing streak. And as Toronto would discover in the third period, they'd need all the offence they could generate against Vancouver. 

CANUCKS STORM BACK TO TIE GAME WITH TWO GOALS IN 1:52 SPAN EARLY IN THIRD

The Canucks' competitiveness has surprised some people, but with Jacob Markstrom finding a comfort zone in Vancouver's net, and the franchise's collection of talented youngsters, it shouldn't be a total surprise to see them not lay down against the Leafs and try to make a game of it.

Vancouver did just that in the first five minutes of the third, getting goals from winger Loui Eriksson at 2:21 of the frame, and from winger Josh Leivo at the 4:13 mark, to even the score at two goals apiece. 

VANCOUVER'S EDLER NETS OVERTIME WINNER, BUT LEAFS EARN VALUABLE POINT

The Canucks had some early chances to start the five-minute, 3-on-3 overtime period, but Frederik Andersen was sharp in the Leafs net and kept the game tied through the first half of OT. However, with 1:49 left before what would've been Toronto's first shootout of the season, Vancouver's Alex Edler scored to give Vancouver the victory and snap the Leafs' two-game win streak.

The Leafs had been a perfect 32-0 in games in which they'd led after two periods this season, and despite the loss, the Leafs still earned a valuable standings point. And if they can finish off their road swing with a win Saturday in Edmonton against the Oilers, Toronto will have taken five of a possible six points in the three games. That's a great short-term goal for head coach Mike Babcock to get his Leafs focused on as they hit the home stretch of the regular season.

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