Leipsic scores first NHL goal as Leafs beat Canucks 5-2
Toronto Maple Leafs' Brendan Leipsic celebrates his first career NHL goal during third period NHL hockey action against the Vancouver Canucks in Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday February 13, 2016. (THE CANADIAN PRESS / Ben Nelms)
Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press
Published Saturday, February 13, 2016 10:00PM EST
Last Updated Saturday, February 13, 2016 10:48PM EST
VANCOUVER -- Mark Arcobello scored his first two goals of the season 17 seconds apart and Brendan Leipsic added his first NHL goal in his first game as the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Vancouver Canucks 5-2 on Saturday night.
James Reimer made 17 stops and Jake Gardiner added two assists for Toronto (20-25-9), which entered play last in the overall standings and won in regulation for just the second time since Jan. 6. Brad Boyes and Leo Komarov added empty netters.
The Maple Leafs, who came in on a three-game slide and were just 3-10-2 over their last 15, stunned the hockey world by trading captain Dion Phaneuf to Ottawa earlier this week, and iced an injury-depleted lineup that included a number of youngsters and minor leaguers.
Daniel Sedin and Sven Baertschi scored for Vancouver (22-21-12), which had won two in a row to get back in the Western Conference playoff race after dropping four straight. Ryan Miller made 33 saves.
Up 2-1 after two periods and leading 31-13 on the shot clock, Toronto stretched its advantage to two at 3:54 of the third. Leipsic, an emergency injury callup from the AHL, batted the puck home in front of a helpless Miller after Rich Clune's initial shot bounced high off a Vancouver defender.
Baertschi buried a rebound with 1:47 left in regulation for his 11th, but Boyes, with his sixth, and Komarov, with his 18th, scored into empty nets as Toronto collected its first win in Vancouver since November 2003 to snap a seven-game losing streak.
Leafs fans decked out in blue and white chanted "Go Leafs Go" as the final seconds wound down before the Toronto players spilled over the boards to celebrate a complete victory.
After a scoreless first where Toronto held a 16-7 edge in shots, the Canucks grabbed the lead 3:18 into the second. Jannik Hansen stole the puck behind the Leafs net and fed it in front to Sedin, who buried his 22nd of the season and first in seven games.
Arcobello, who was pointless in 13 games before Saturday, got that one back 1:09 later when he jumped on a Canucks turnover and ripped a shot past Miller.
In the third game of his most recent callup, Arcobello then gave his team the lead just 17 seconds later when Gardiner drove past Radim Vrbata and Arcobello shovelled the loose puck past Miller.
Toronto had been outscored 15-6 in its last three games, and nearly went up 3-1 on an extended 5-on-3 power play, but Morgan Rielly saw one shot hit the post before Miller snagged another with his glove.
Reimer didn't have a lot to do at the other end until Emerson Etem tested him with a one timer from the slot and Bo Horvat tried to beat him upstairs on a wraparound.
The period was accented by a tussle between a clearly frustrated Henrik Sedin and Komarov that had the Vancouver captain taking swings at the Leafs forward.
The Canucks, who have now failed to win three in a row six times this season, donned black throwback jerseys that featured the "flying skate" logo the club abandoned after the 1996-97 season as part of 20th anniversary celebrations for Rogers Arena.
Notes: The Canucks announced Friday that defenceman Alexander Edler and forward Brandon Sutter will miss at least six weeks each after suffering injuries in Tuesday's 3-1 win over Colorado. Edler was hurt blocking a shot with his foot, while Sutter broke his jaw after taking a puck to the face. ... Leafs centre Nazem Kadri sat out for a second night in a row with a lower-body injury. ... Henrik Sedin played his 1,141th game for the Canucks to pass team president Trevor Linden for the all-time record.