Canucks compound Leafs' misery
The Vancouver Canucks compounded the misery of the floundering Maple Leafs, defeating Toronto 3-1 at General Motors Place on Saturday.
Power-play goals by Mason Raymond and Ryan Kesler gave the Canucks a 2-0 lead after the first period and Niklas Hagman responded for the Leafs in the second, cutting the lead in half.
Toronto threw everything it had at Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo in the third period, but the Canucks captain held the fort to give his team the victory and Raymond added an empty-netter late to ice the game.
"We did everything we had to do except bury the scoring chances we had," said Leafs coach Ron Wilson.
With a 5-5-0 record, Vancouver is back at the .500 mark, while the Leafs (0-7-1) remain the only winless team in the NHL this season and are off to their worst start in franchise history.
Third-string goalie Joey MacDonald kept Toronto in the game when the Canucks pressed for the third goal, but wound up with his third loss of the season, making 23 stops in the contest.
Luongo showed why he's considered one the best goalies in the league, stopping 35 of 36 shots, with 23 of those coming in the final two frames as the Leafs pressed.
"They were throwing everything on the net and crashing the net but during those spots I thought we did a pretty good job protecting the front of the net," Luongo said.
Toronto carried the play for the first five minutes of the game, but landed into penalty trouble and it cost the squad two goals.
Canucks strike first
Raymond gave Vancouver the opening goal on the Canucks' third straight power play in the first period. He jammed the puck past MacDonald at 14:50 for his second of the season.
Vancouver exploited terrible Toronto penalty killing again on the Canucks' fourth straight power play of the period. Kesler fired a shot through traffic and past MacDonald at 17:32 for his fourth goal of the season.
After Toronto took the only four penalties of the first period, the Canucks were down a man three times to the Leafs' one in the second period.
Hagman gave Toronto some hope on the Leafs' final power play of the period, firing a shot past Luongo at 16:46 of the frame.
Matt Stajan did most of the work on the goal, as he drew the penalty, screened Luongo on the man-advantage, and was rewarded with an assist on the play.
In the third, the Leafs threw everything they had at Luongo, but couldn't find the back of the net a second time.
Their best chance came near the five-minute mark as Luongo was down-and-out during a scramble in front of the net, but Toronto's Rickard Wallin fanned on the shot with the cage gaping wide.
Vancouver got a break on that play too, as Ale Edler cleared the puck out of the Canucks' crease by closing his hand on it, a clear penalty shot play. But with all the chaos in front, the referees missed the call.
The Canucks had the best chances to score when MacDonald was pulled for an extra attacker, hitting the post twice and missing the open net by inches, and Raymond finally put the game away with his second of the game at 19:52.
Vancouver was outshot 23-13 in the final two periods.