The Canucks went nine games without losing in regulation, since a 4-3 loss to the Lightning in Tampa on October 19th. Saturday evening on Hockey Night in Canada they met their match in the Toronto Maple Leafs, losing 5-2.
The Canucks had gone five games without giving up more than two goals.
A feisty first period included two fights involving veteran defencemen. Toronto’s Mark Giordano instigated a tiff with Vancouver’s Dakota Joshua at 4:45. The long-time Calgary Flame and part-time Seattle Kraken ended up with 17 minutes in penalties.
At 14:12, Vancouver D-man Ian Cole put up his dukes against Max Domi. Domi took exception to Cole’s hit on William Nylander. The T.O. locals get a kick out of a guy named Domi dropping the mitts.
Along the way Vancouver took a 2-1 lead through twenty minutes. J.T. Miller notched his 9th goal of the season to open the scoring at 5:43 on the power play, beating Ilya Samsonov glove side from above the left circle.
After Toronto winger Matthew Knies tied matters at 8:37, Pius Suter untied it on another Canucks power play marker at 15:48. He banged home a rebound with a backhander from the slot.
By the end of the night, that would be all of the success Vancouver would find on the man advantage, despite getting a total of six chances. Hard to complain about a 33% success rate, but Toronto’s penalty killing ultimately saved their evening. Three chances came in rapid succession during the 1st half of the 2nd period.
The Canucks wouldn’t score again.
A red hot Nylander tied the game with his 10th goal of the season at 4:53 by dangling down low to the right post and tucking one in off Canucks D-man Tyler Myers. He now has a 15-game point streak to start the season.
A little less than ten minutes later Noah Gregor put the Maple Leafs ahead for good 3-2, going top shelf, glove side on Thatcher Demko.
Gregor, his 4th-line cohort, and the rest of the bottom-six forwards were the difference in the hockey game. The Leafs have found more depth scoring since moving Domi to the middle of the 3rd line.
Domi’s winger Nick Robertson stretched the lead 4:56 into the 3rd period with a backhander off some sloppy play in the Canucks zone. 4th-line centre David Kampf put on the finishing touch by deflecting in a puck at 9:13.
Shots-on-goal finished 33-22 in favour of Vancouver. Power Plays: Vancouver 2-for-6, Toronto 0-for-2.
— The Hugeness Of The Canucks Bo Horvat Trade