Edler’s OT goal lifts Canucks over Maple Leafs
Leivo was instrumental in the Canucks’ rally as Vancouver earned a 3-2 overtime win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Vancouver was down 2-0 going into the third period but the 25-year-old left-winger put away a power-play goal midway through the frame to force extra time.
The win snaps a three-game losing streak for Vancouver (28-30-9), a squad that has struggled since the all-star break. The Canucks were shutout 3-0 in Vegas on Sunday and have a single regulation win in their last 15 games.
Alex Edler scored 3:11 into overtime to complete the comeback.
The veteran defenceman collected a crisp cross-ice pass from Brock Boeser in the neutral zone and found his way to the top of the circle, where he fired a quick wrist shot past Toronto goalie Frederik Andersen.
The goal was Edler’s sixth of the season and his first point since returning from the concussion he sustained in a scary-looking crash on Feb. 4. The 32-year-old Swede saw just over 27 minutes of ice time in the win.
Left-winger Loui Eriksson had the other regulation goal for the Canucks and Adam Gaudette had a pair of assists. Jacob Markstrom made 28 saves in net for the win.
Morgan Rielly and Ron Hainsey both had goals for the Leafs (41-21-5), while Andersen stopped 29 shots.
“Just little mistakes that we’ve got to fix. Going forward, we’re going to look at it and be better at it,” said Mitch Marner, who extended his point streak to five games with an assist on Thursday. “We’ve been pretty good all year at holding those leads so we can’t get frustrated about this one.”
Thursday marked the first time this season that the Leafs have lost when leading after two periods.
Toronto coach Mike Babcock said he didn’t like the way his squad started the game.
“We had a really good second and I didn’t even mind our third to tell you the truth,” he said. “But any way you look at it, we went into the (third) period up 2-0 and we lost in overtime and we should find a way to win that game. That part is disappointing. They were more urgent than we were.”
The Maple Leafs sport the NHL’s second-ranked offense, are first in even-strength scoring, have nine players with at least 30 points and own the seventh-ranked power play. Blessed with skill, speed, quick-release snipers and enviable depth, everything was in place at Rogers Arena to send a large contingent of Leaf Nation into a tizzy.
“For me, when we travel it’s important for those people,” the Toronto coach said of life-long Leaf loyalists. “They come to the game, they expect you to play well.”
The victory secures two big points for the Canucks, who are fighting to keep their dim playoff hopes alive.
“Our team doesn’t quit and we have shown that all year. We have battled back a lot this year,” said Vancouver head coach Travis Green.
“I know a lot of media members think we’re done and can’t come back. (The team) knows the odds are against them but they are not done yet.”
The Leafs will visit the Oilers on Saturday.