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Bernier brilliant as Leafs chase Miller but need to hang on to beat Canucks

NHL.com @NHL

TORONTO - Jonathan Bernier was brilliant as the Toronto Maple Leafs chased Ryan Miller and beat the Vancouver Canucks 5-2 Saturday night at Air Canada Centre.

Miller, whose strong play has been a big part of the Canucks' resurgence and whose career dominance against the Maple Leafs is well-documented, gave up four goals on 14 shots before giving way to Eddie Lack. One of those was an own goal put in by Yannick Weber.

Meanwhile, Bernier deserved credit for stealing two points by making 44 saves to get a victory in his career-high eighth straight start. The Canucks outshot the Leafs 46-28 overall.

Jake Gardiner got credit on Weber's blunder, and Richard Panik, Peter Holland and Joffrey Lupul scored for the Leafs (14-9-3), who rebounded well from a poor effort Thursday night against the New Jersey Devils. David Clarkson added an empty-netter.

Daniel Sedin and Christopher Tanev had Vancouver's goals.

Lack stopped all 13 shots he faced in relief for the Canucks (18-8-1), who continue their Eastern Conference tour Sunday night when they visit the Ottawa Senators.

Though the Canucks dominated the play, Bernier was up to the task, especially early. In the first period he stopped Radim Vrbata on a point-blank shot and less than two minutes later, stoned Alexandre Edler on a back-hander going to the net.

Miller made a couple of big saves, but there wasn't much he could do when the Leafs took a 1-0 lead 15:47 in.

Gardiner skated down the right wing, and his shot deflected in front off Miller's pads. The sticks of Holland and Lupul were in the neighbourhood, but Weber knocked the puck into his net for an own goal.

As a result, Gardiner got credit for the goal, unassisted, his second of the season.

It was 2-0 Toronto on the very next shot at 16:32, and this time the Leafs scored themselves. Trevor Smith got the puck to Panik with a nifty pass, and then the fourth-line winger stopped in front, deked out defenceman Kevin Bieksa and Miller before sliding a back-handed shot into an empty net.

The Canucks outshot the Leafs through one period but were unable to crack Bernier. Vancouver cracked early in the second.

At the 4:16 mark, Holland picked up a loose puck in the offensive zone and froze Miller with a perfect wrist shot high stick side to make it 3-0. It was Holland's second goal in three career games against the Canucks.

Just 83 seconds later at 5:39, Lupul fired a shot under Luca Sbisa that made it 4-0. The goal was the last straw for Willie Desjardins to call for the hook on Miller, who entered the night with a 32-15-3 record, 2.47 goals-against average and .921 save percentage against the Leafs.

A parade to the penalty box helped lead to Daniel Sedin's seventh goal of the season at 15:21. With the teams at four aside, Sedin walked in and took a shot that banked off Bernier's stick and in to cut the Canucks' deficit to 4-1.

At 8:45 of the third, Tanev made it 4-2 when he directed Linden Vey's slap pass past Bernier. It was Tanev's first of the season.

When Panik was called for interference not long after, the Leafs sweated through the penalty kill. The Canucks hit the post on a redirection and then the post on the very next attempt but were unable to score.

Clarkson added the empty-netter with 2:21 left. The goal gave him his first multipoint game with the Leafs.

Notes ??? Canucks forward Shawn Matthias left the game in the second period after taking an elbow to the head from Stephane Robidas. He did not return. ... Before the game, the Leafs activated winger Brandon Kozun off long-term injured reserve and placed defenceman Roman Polak on the injured list. Kozun did not play as Panik remained in the lineup. ... The start of the third period was delayed for several minutes as arena workers repaired a problem along the ice at the door to the visiting locker-room.

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