Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko (35) looks on as Toronto Maple Leafs left wing Zach Hyman (11) fights for control of the puck with Canucks defenceman Tyler Myers (57) during second period NHL action in Vancouver, Thursday, March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko (35) looks on as Toronto Maple Leafs left wing Zach Hyman (11) fights for control of the puck with Canucks defenceman Tyler Myers (57) during second period NHL action in Vancouver, Thursday, March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Virtanen scores 2, Canucks pick up much-needed 3-1 win over Toronto

Maple Leafs were coming off a three-game sweep over Edmonton

Jake Virtanen scored twice, propelling the Vancouver Canucks to a much-needed 3-1 win over the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs Thursday.

Bo Horvat also scored for Vancouver (10-15-2), burying a snap shot midway through the third period to give his side some breathing room.

Pierre Engvall had the lone goal for the Leafs (18-5-2) with Ilya Mikheyev notching an assist.

Thatcher Demko stood tall in the Canucks net, stopping 32 shots. The Leafs got 24 saves from Michael Hutchinson.

Toronto was coming off a three-game sweep of the Oilers, including a 6-1 win in Edmonton on Wednesday. Thursday’s result snapped a four-game win streak that saw the Leafs outscore their opposition 15-2.

The Canucks were playing without star centre Elias Pettersson, who left morning skate with an upper-body injury Thursday and is considered day-to-day.

Auston Matthews nearly clawed out a second goal for the Leafs with less than two minutes left on the clock, but Demko stretched out across the net for an eye-popping last-second save.

While the Canucks have struggled with holding leads this season, they appeared determined Thursday to not let another game slip away.

The squad started the third period with aggression, controlling the puck and peppering Hutchinson with shots.

Horvat got one past the Toronto netminder 7:56 into the frame, collecting a crisp pass from defenceman Alex Edler and instantly launching a blast from the top hash marks.

Horvat’s 10th goal of the season put Vancouver up 3-1.

Midway through the second, Toronto’s Justin Holl was called for tripping, leading to a big power play for the Canucks.

READ MORE: Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

READ MORE: Full Canucks coverage here

Despite the man advantage, Demko was forced to make his most impressive save of the night when Alexander Kerfoot and Mikheyev got a short-handed 2-on-1.

Kerfoot sliced a last-second pass to Mikheyev in front of the net and Demko deftly slid across the crease, stacking his pads to make the stop.

At the other end of the ice, Virtanen took a sharp-angle shot that snuck into the space between Hutchinson’s left shoulder and the crossbar to put Vancouver up 2-1.

It was the 24-year-old winger’s second goal of the night and his third of the season.

He opened the scoring 2:59 into Thursday’s game.

Virtanen muscled his way into Toronto’s zone with speed and chipped a backhanded shot on net. Hutchinson seemed to get a piece of the puck before it popped up and over the goal line to give the Canucks the early lead.

Engvall responded for the Leafs 17:15 into the period, sending a wrist shot from low in the slot over Demko’s shoulder to knot the score at 1-1 heading into intermission.

The Leafs and Canucks will battle again Saturday in Vancouver.

NOTES: Canucks defenceman Quinn Hughes played his 100th NHL game. He has 79 points (10 goals, 69 assists) across his career. … Marc Michaelis played his first NHL game. The 25-year-old left-winger signed with Vancouver as a free agent in March 2020 after playing four years at Minnesota State University, Mankato.

Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

CanuckshockeyNHLToronto

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Prince Rupert City Council approved the purchase of computer chipped recycling bins on April 12. A Penticton garbage truck lifts a new bin. (Western News photo)
Big Brother to help with the garbage – computer chipped recycling bins report your bylaw infractions

They report, but will they sort — recycle bins to cost Prince Rupert $564,850

Pembina Prince Rupert Terminal celebrated the opening of operations on April 12 in a virtual online ceremony with President and CEO Mick Dilger and Manager of Communications and Media Affair Tasha Cadotte commemorating the ribbon-cutting. (Photo: Supplied)
Pembina celebrates opening of operations in Prince Rupert

A virtual ribbon-cutting ceremony commemorates LPG export facility on Watson Island

Pembina Prince Rupert Terminal shipped its first vessel full of liquefied petroleum gas on April 9, just less than three years after breaking ground at the re-purposed pulp mill site on Watson Island.
Pembina ships first vessel of LPG out of Prince Rupert

More than $12 million spent to repurpose Watson Island for the LPG export facility

Seventy-two cases of COVID-19 are reported for the week of March 28 to April 3 on the map of Graphic Distribution by Local Health Area of Case Residence for Epi-week 13. (image: BCCDC)
Cases increase to 5 in Acropolis Manor’s 2nd outbreak

Prince Rupert Regional Hospital Patient Care unit outbreak is now 4 and includes a staff member

Prince Rupert Fire Rescue attend an apartment fire on the morning of April 11 in a building at 521 Fulton Str. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Sunday morning fire rouses tenants

Prince Rupert Fire Rescue attended an apartment fire at 521 Fulton St.

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has restricted indoor dining at all restaurants in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 indoor dining, drinking ban extending into May

Restaurant association says patio rules to be clarified

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
Tougher COVID-19 restrictions in B.C., including travel, still ‘on the table’: Horgan

John Horgan says travel restrictions will be discussed Wednesday by the provincial cabinet

Protesters occupied a road leading to Fairy Creek Watershed near Port Renfrew. (Submitted photo)
B.C. First Nation says logging activist interference not welcome at Fairy Creek

Vancouver Island’s Pacheedaht concerned about increasing polarization over forestry activities

Flow Academy is not accepting membership applications from anybody who has received a dose of the vaccine, according to a password-protected membership application form. (Submitted image)
B.C. martial arts gym refusing patrons who have been vaccinated, wear masks

Interior Health has already issued a ticket to Flow Academy for non-compliance with public health orders

Guinevere, lovingly referred to by Jackee Sullivan and her family as Gwenny, is in need of a gynecological surgery. The family is raising money to help offset the cost of the procedure. (Jackee Sullivan/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Langley lizard’s owners raise funds for gynecological surgery

The young reptile is scheduled for operation on Tuesday

Facebook screenshot of the sea lion on Holberg Road. (Greg Clarke Facebook video)
VIDEO: Sea lion randomly spotted on remote B.C. logging road

Greg Clarke was driving home on the Holberg Road April 12, when he saw a large sea lion.

Defence counsel for the accused entered two not guilty pleas by phone to Grand Forks Provincial Court Tuesday, Jan. 12. File photo
B.C. seafood company owner fined $25K for eating receipt, obstructing DFO inspection

Richmond company Tenshi Seafood is facing $75,000 in fines as decided March 4 by a provincial court judge

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson speaks in the B.C. legislature, March 2, 2021. (Hansard TV)
B.C. NDP ministers defend ‘air tax,’ latest COVID-19 business aid

Empty home tax doesn’t apply to businesses, but space above them

In Ontario, COVID-19 vaccine clinics have been set up at local mosques. (Submitted photo: Rufaida Mohammed)
Getting the vaccine does not break your fast, says Muslim COVID-19 task force

Muslim community ‘strongly’ encouraging people to get their shot, whether or not during Ramadan

Most Read