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game recap

Canucks top Golden Knights in Game 2 of Western Second Round, even series

Toffoli has goal, three points in return, Markstrom makes 38 saves for Vancouver

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / Staff Writer

Pettersson sets up Toffoli

VAN@VGK, Gm2: Toffoli, Pettersson take early lead

R2, Gm2: Elias Pettersson swings around the net and feeds a wide-open Tyler Toffoli, who puts it home to claim an early 1-0 lead

  • 00:43 •

Tyler Toffoli scored three points in his return to the lineup, and the Vancouver Canucks defeated the Vegas Golden Knights 5-2 in Game 2 to even their Western Conference Second Round series at Rogers Place in Edmonton on Tuesday.

"Coming into the lineup, you want to do whatever you can to help the team win, especially in playoffs," said Toffoli, who missed the previous 10 games (unfit to play). "I felt we were confident coming into the game, and right from the first shift, we started off well, and then continued on and our team got a big win."

Bo Horvat scored twice, Elias Pettersson had a goal and two assists, and Jacob Markstrom made 38 saves for Vancouver, the No. 5 seed in the West.

It was the first regulation win by the Canucks against the Golden Knights in the regular season and postseason (3-8-1); the two previous wins came in overtime and in the shootout.

"We just didn't play well (in a 5-0 loss in Game 1 on Sunday) and we had a good meeting last night, talked to our group," Canucks coach Travis Green said. "Call it motivation, call it whatever you want, but we had to play better, we had to have a response. I was confident we'd get a response because we've always gotten it in the past after a bad game. 

"It doesn't mean you'll win, but I like that we responded with a better game to even the series."


[WATCH: All Canucks vs. Golden Knights Game 2 highlights]


Game 3 of the best-of-7 Stanley Cup Playoff series is in Edmonton, the West hub city, on Thursday (9:45 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS).

Alex Tuch and Max Pacioretty scored, and Robin Lehner made 22 saves for the Golden Knights, the No. 1 seed.

"We got exactly what I expected," Golden Knights coach Peter DeBoer said. "They came out with some gas in the first period. We knew it was coming and, for whatever reason, we didn't look ready for it. That's disappointing, spotting them (a 2-0 lead).

"There were some uncharacteristic reads and decisions by us, but they put pressure on us that we didn't see in Game 1."

Toffoli, who last played Aug. 2 (Game 1 against the Minnesota Wild, Stanley Cup Qualifiers), gave the Canucks a 1-0 lead at 1:29 of the first period, nine seconds into his first shift. It was his first playoff goal since June 1, 2014, with the Los Angeles Kings.

"It was tough (being out of the lineup), but at the same time, they're winning games and giving me a little more time to rest up and heal," said Toffoli, who had two assists. "I've been wanting to play for a while now. It's a matter of time and getting on the same page. I was just excited to get out there tonight."

Video: Clutch Performance: Toffoli with a three-point night

Horvat scored a power-play goal on a snap shot from the slot to give Vancouver a 2-0 lead at 10:59 of the first. It was his first point in six games.

"It feels great to put the puck in the back of the net again," he said. "When I'm not scoring, I'm trying to do other things, whether it's win face-offs or playing well defensively. Getting on the score sheet is going to help that, and I'll try to do that whenever I can."

The Canucks won 66.2 percent of face-offs (43 of 65), with Horvat leading them (80.8 percent; 21-for-26).

"Starting with the puck is a huge advantage," Horvat said. "Sometimes you have those nights in the circle where everything you go in for comes back the right way."

Tuch made it 2-1 on a snap shot from the right face-off circle at 6:34 of the second period.

"We knew Vancouver wasn't happy with the way they played (in Game 1) ... we knew they'd be flying," Tuch said. "Vancouver definitely played better than us in the first, and after that it didn't really matter."

Video: Horvat, Pettersson help Canucks draw series even

Pettersson scored on a wrist shot after deking Lehner on a backhand-to-forehand move to give the Canucks a 3-1 lead at 18:35 of the second.

"It was nice to have [Toffoli] back in the lineup," Pettersson said. "We wanted to bounce back from Game 1 and should be happy about it, but we need to have short-term memory and get ready for Game 3."

Pettersson is the highest-scoring player through the first 12 games of a single postseason in Canucks history with 16 points (five goals, 11 assists). He is two points behind Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche for the NHL postseason lead.

Horvat, who leads the NHL with eight goals in the postseason, gave Vancouver a 4-1 lead with his second goal of the game 18 seconds into the third period.

Pacioretty made it 4-2 when he scored a power-play goal with Lehner pulled for an extra skater at 18:34 of the third.

Tanner Pearson scored an empty-net goal at 19:30 for the 5-2 final.

The Canucks set their record with 40 blocked shots, including a game-high six by Christopher Tanev. Sixteen of their 18 skaters had at least one blocked shot.

"I know it's not fun to see guys with ice packs after games, people blocking shots, but as a goalie I appreciate that," Markstrom said. "They've been helping me throughout the year and the playoffs. Hopefully, they're going to keep blocking shots, helping me out." staff writer Tracey Myers contributed to this report

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