Back-to-back shorthanded goals propelled the Vancouver Canucks to a 4-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday.
Elias Pettersson and JT Miller each had a goal and an assist for the Canucks (25-32-5) during a Leafs power play midway through the third period.
The Leafs (38-17-8) scored their only goal from John Tavares on a power play early in the last frame.
Thatcher Demko stopped 36 of 37 shots for Vancouver and Toronto’s Matt Murray made 20 saves in his first game since January 17.
CLOCK | Pettersson, Miller sink Maple Leafs with goals outnumbered:
The 28-year-old Leafs goalie missed 17 games with an ankle injury.
Toronto drew Murray in favor of an additional attacker with more than three minutes on the game clock and Pettersson nearly added to the Canucks tally, ringing a shot off the post.
Vancouver sealed the deal with the only equal goal of the game 12:34 in the third.
Boeser spotted Aman unmanned at the side of the Toronto net and put the puck on his tape. Aman tapped and gave the Canucks a 4-1 cushion with his third goal of the season.
LEAVE HIM ALONE AT THE BACK DOOR! pic.twitter.com/C6sbfsPQfR
Toronto had an opportunity to take the lead midway through the third period when Vancouver’s Phillip Di Giuseppe was called up to high-stick, but it was Vancouver who found the back of the net with two shorthanded goals 44 seconds apart.
Miller and Pettersson sparked the offensive breakout with a two-for-one. Miller sent Pettersson the puck to the hash marks and the Swedish center popped it under Murray to give the Canucks a 2-1 lead at the 6:39 mark.
The goal was Pettersson’s 29th of the campaign.
Moments later it was Pettersson feeding a long pass to Miller that rounded Auston Matthews and sent a shot over Murray’s glove for his 21st goal of the season 7:33 into the third.
Tavares leveled the score at 1-1 on a power play early in the third after Canucks defenseman Tyler Myers was called on to hook.
Toronto was one on four with man advantage on Saturday while Vancouver was one on three.
The Canucks made the game’s goal doldrums with a power play goal of their own 17:51 into midframe after Morgan Rielly was called on to hold.
Quinn Hughes unleashed a blast from the point and Kuzmenko, stationed in the middle of the slot, got a piece of it and bounced the puck past Murray for his 29th goal of the season.
Murray kept the Canucks off the board early in the period with a big save.
Conor Garland and Christian Woolanian broke through Toronto’s defense in a 2-for-0, with Garland feeding Woolanian a crisp pass over the top of the crease. The defender fired a snap, but Murray pinned with the right pad to save.
Demko kept the home side in a first half in which Toronto defeated Vancouver 14-5.
Toronto appeared in danger of losing Matthews late in the first period after the Star Center took a slap shot from Juulsen on the inside of his right knee.
Matthews struggled to get up, then stayed on his hands and knees on the ice for a few moments and was examined by a coach before limping into the locker room.
He returned in the middle of the second period.
Former Canucks defenseman Luke Schenn returned to Rogers Arena after Vancouver brought him to Toronto for a third-round draft pick on Tuesday. Highlights of the veteran blue-liner’s time in Vancouver were shown on the big screen midway through the first period, eliciting stick taps from both benches and cheers from the crowd.
The Canucks continue a six-game homestand against the Nashville Predators on Monday.
The Maple Leafs visit the Devils in New Jersey on Tuesday.