Tanner Pearson and Brandon Sutter each scored twice Tuesday, powering the host Vancouver Canucks to a 6-3 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Quinn Hughes had a goal and two assists for Vancouver (18-18-3). Nils Hoglander also found the back of the net and J.T. Miller registered a pair of helpers.
John Tavares had two goals for the Leafs (28-13-5), who dropped their fifth game in a row but remain atop the North Division. Adam Brooks also scored for Toronto and William Nylander had two assists.
Goalie Braden Holtby delivered another dominant performance for the Canucks with 37 saves in Vancouver’s second game back from a massive COVID-19 outbreak.
David Rittich struggled in net for the Leafs, stopping 23-of-28 shots.
It was the Canucks’ second-straight win over the Leafs, giving Vancouver a 4-3 edge in the season series with two games left to play.
Toronto had an excellent opportunity to claw back a goal with less than two minutes to go when Vancouver defenceman Tyler Myers was called for slashing. The Leafs pulled Rittich for an extra attacker but couldn’t capitalize.
Instead, Sutter buried the empty-net strike with 36 seconds left on the clock.
A sloppy play in the neutral zone cost the Leafs late in the game.
Pearson capitalized on a turnover on the red line and bolted into Toronto’s end alone, firing a wrist shot past Rittich for his second goal of the night with just over seven minutes left to play.
The 28-year-old left-winger had a power-play goal 9:48 into the third that proved to be the difference maker in Tuesday’s game.
Rittich made a big pad stop on J.T. Miller and Pearson, stationed at the top of the crease, batted in the rebound to put Vancouver up 4-3.
Hoglander evened the score just over three minutes earlier, streaking into the Leafs zone and rifling a shot past the Toronto netminder from the top of the right face-off circle.
It was the Swedish rookie’s ninth goal of the season.
The Leafs briefly took a 3-2 lead with a short-handed goal 3:10 into the third.
Holtby came well out of his net to stop a shot but couldn’t freeze the puck. Mitch Marner collected the rebound and passed it to Brooks in the slot. Boeser tried his best to fill in for the Canucks net minder but Brooks’ shot sailed over his leg and in.
Toronto knotted the score with a power-player marker 17:14 into the second after Vancouver defenceman Jalen Chatfield was called for holding.
Tavares used a Nylander screen to whip a shot into the top left corner of the net for his second goal of the night and 16th of the season.
Both Toronto and Vancouver were 1 for 2 on the power play.
The Canucks went up 2-1, 10:08 into the frame when Hughes unleashed a blast from the top of the left face-off circle. The puck ticked of Marner’s blade and sailed up over Rittich’s glove.
Sutter got Vancouver on the board earlier in the second period. Travis Hamonic’s shot from the blue line hit the outside of the net and bounced back toward the crease where Sutter quickly pounced and tipped it in for his seventh goal of the season.
Toronto ended the first period up 1-0 after Myers blew a tire near the blue line and Nylander darted past him on a breakaway. Holtby stopped the ensuing blast but Nylander collected his own rebound, swung around the back of the net and delivered it to Tavares for the tap in.
The Leafs captain is on a six-game point streak with four goals and six assists across the stretch.
— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) April 21, 2021
There was a tense moment midway through the second period when Zach Bogosian flew into the end boards.
The Leafs defenceman appeared to catch his skate in a rut while chasing down a puck and fell awkwardly, a thud echoing through the empty rink. He lay on the ice for a few moments before going directly to the dressing room and did not return to the game.
The Canucks will continue their homestand Thursday when they host the Ottawa Senators. The Leafs will be in Winnipeg to face the Jets the same night.
NOTES: Canucks defencemen Nate Schmidt and Olli Juolevi, and left-winger Jake Virtanen returned to the lineup after being placed on the NHL’s COVID-19 list during Vancouver’s outbreak. Goalie Thatcher Demko also returned, acting as Holtby’s backup. … Matthew Highmore played his first game for the Canucks.
THE CANADIAN PRESS