VANCOUVER -- With several forwards injured and out of the lineup, Toronto Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock had talked about the opportunity for other players to step up.
Mark Arcobello and Brendan Leipsic did just that on Saturday.
Arcobello scored his first two goals of the season 17 seconds apart and Brendan Leipsic scored the game-winning goal in his NHL debut to help the Maple Leafs to a 5-2 victory against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena.
"Whenever you get an opportunity to play in the NHL, you've got to take advantage of it," said Arcobello, who was playing his third game since his latest recall from the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League and 14th this season for the Maple Leafs. "I was lucky enough tonight to get a couple goals and hopefully I can build off it."
Video: TOR@VAN: Leipsic scores first goal, family celebrates
With five forwards already injured and Nazem Kadri unable to play for a second straight game, Leipsic was called up with the Marlies on the road in Newfoundland, but made it across the country in time to make a good impression in his NHL debut. Robbed on an early chance, he batted a loose puck out of the air past Ryan Miller 3:54 into the third period to make it 3-1.
"It was one end of Canada or the other," Leipsic said of waiting for the call up from the AHL. "It feels amazing. You work hard all your life to get to this point. It was a pretty cool experience and hopefully I'll get a second game."
Leipsic's first goal became the game winner when Sven Baertschi of the Canucks scored with 1:47 left and Miller on the bench for an extra attacker to make it 3-2. But Brad Boyes and Leo Komarov scored into an empty net in the final minute, and the last-place Maple Leafs ended a three-game losing streak with their second regulation win in 16 games.
James Reimer made 17 saves for the Maple Leafs (20-25-9) who won in Vancouver for the first time since Nov. 2003, ending a seven-game losing streak.
Video: TOR@VAN: Sedin wrists it past Reimer to provide lead
"That's got to be one of our best defensive games of the year," Reimer said. "We competed real hard the last three games and [in the] last two didn't get rewarded, didn't get goals when we deserved them. Today we finally started to get the bounces and got rewarded for all our shots and traffic and just doing the right things."
Canucks forward Daniel Sedin opened the scoring 3:18 into the second period, but Arcobello tied it 69 seconds later after a turnover in the Vancouver end, beating a screened Miller with a shot from the top of the faceoff circle. Arcobello, who played for four NHL teams last season, gave Toronto the lead on the next shift after a nice play by defenseman Jake Gardiner to drive the net off an offensive zone face-off.
The puck went off Gardiner's stick atop the crease to Arcobello for a tap-in on the other side, giving him two goals in 17 seconds after going scoreless in 13 games.
"It's funny how it goes sometimes," Arcobello said. "Jake made a great play on the second one. It was easy for me to just bang it in the open net."
Miller finished with 33 saves for the Canucks (22-21-12), who were outshot 38-19 and failed to win three straight games for the first time this season.
Video: TOR@VAN: Leipsic takes the ice in first NHL game
"We did everything that teams do to lose games," said captain Henrik Sedin, who set a franchise record by playing his 1,141st game, passing Trevor Linden. "We scored a big first one and then we gave up two right away. That can't happen. We take penalties we shouldn't take. Our power-play is far from even close to being good enough. Overall, everything execution, smartness, timely goals, we did everything wrong in a game we must win."
The injury-ravaged Maple Leafs dominated the first period, outshooting Vancouver 16-7, and didn't stop pushing after falling behind early in the second period.
"Our game plan was to get after their back end and get pucks deep, work them low," said Maple Leafs defenseman Frank Corrado, who was claimed off waivers from the Canucks early this season. "We talked about foot on the gas pedal, keep going, stay on top of them, get pucks deep and that was our mindset here. Keep coming after them."
It paid off with two quick goals for Arcobello and Toronto took over for the rest of the second period, finishing with a 15-6 advantage in shots.
Video: TOR@VAN: Baertschi puts in rebound to cut the deficit
"They got their two goals quick and it just falls apart," Canucks forward Jannik Hansen said. "We got a little bit frustrated. We take penalties, turn the puck over, a lot of the same little things that don't make us very successful. There is a reason we are in the situation we are right now."
Leipsic extended the lead early in the third period when a point shot by Rich Clune bounced off a defender in front of the net and high into the air. With Miller looking the other way and his parents watching in the stands after making the trip from Winnipeg, Leipsic knocked the puck out of the air for his first NHL goal.
"They found a way," Leipsic said of parents making it to his NHL debut. "It was kind of planes, trains and automobiles to get here. … Definitely a real special day."
Video: Arcobello, Leipsic help lift Maple Leafs over Canucks