The Vancouver Canucks
are always happy to see the Toronto Maple Leafs
come to town. Saturday was no different.
The Canucks made it eight consecutive wins against the Leafs by cruising to a 4-1 victory at Rogers Arena. The Canucks got 27 saves by Roberto Luongo
and goals by Alex Burrows, Jannik Hansen
, Christian Ehrhoff and Henrik Sedin
to improve to 8-1-1 overall in their last 10 games.
made it 2-1 at 8:14 of the third when Luongo whiffed on his 30-foot shot with his glove. But Ehrhoff, returning after missing three games with a head injury, restored the two-goal lead by beating Jonas Gustavsson
with a screened point shot with 5:03 remaining. Sedin hit the empty net with 30.7 seconds remaining.
"It was a close game score-wise most of it, but I thought we had control of the game," Sedin said. "I thought we had the play most of the time."
Gustavsson started in place of Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who aggravated a groin injury Thursday in Calgary. Gustavsson finished with 25 saves for Toronto, which hasn’t beaten the Canucks since 2003.
“He was shaky, I thought,” Toronto coach Ron Wilson said of Luongo, who was named the game’s first star. “But he made some huge saves when they needed them. In the third period, he was bobbling a lot of pucks, but we didn't have enough net-front presence to take advantage of it.”
Both teams took a while to get going, as the rare 4 p.m. start in Vancouver was filled with sloppy play and penalties in the early going. Toronto failed to convert a 5-on-3 power play that lasted 49 seconds midway through the first period. Luongo robbed Kris Versteeg with his pad on a tap-in on the Maple Leafs' best chance.
"The save he made on the 5-on-3, it's one of those plays where the other team's top guys get confidence if they score there and he stopped it and it's still a tied game," Sedin said.
Vancouver opened the scoring with 1:07 left in the period after Kevin Bieksa
's point shot hit a defenseman in front. Burrows spun around and swiped the bouncing puck into the net before Gustavsson could dive across.
assisted on the play to extend his point streak to 10 games. He has four goals and 10 assists in the NHL's second-longest active run.
"The bounces weren't with us," Gustavsson said. "A couple of unlucky bounces. Those bounces are maybe sometimes the bounces you need when you play away, especially against a good team like this."
The Canucks' League-leading power play failed to capitalize on a four-minute advantage midway through the second period. Gustavsson made three big saves to keep the Canucks off the board, but had no chance when a slick passing play by Jeff Tambellini and Ryan Kesler
off a 3-on-2 rush left Hansen with an empty net at 17:54.
hit the post six minutes into the third after a similar play, and Grabovski closed the gap off a harmless-looking rush 2 1/2 minutes later with a long shot that tipped in off Luongo's glove. But Ehrhoff’s point shot deflected into the net under Gustavsson restored the Canucks’ two-goal lead.
"Obviously, it was a little sloppy at the beginning but it really doesn't matter at the end when we get the two points," Ehrhoff said. "It kind of put the game away.”
Grabovski has the Leafs’ last three goals – he scored twice in Thursday’s 5-2 loss at Calgary.
"At the end of the day only one line scored again,” Wilson said. "Other guys have got to do what they re paid to do -- which is score."
Material from team media and wire services was used in this report