VANCOUVER – Josh Leivo exacted some revenge against his former team on Wednesday night.
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.
“That’s a goal I can remember for a while,” said Leivo, who was dealt to the Canucks by the Maple Leafs in early December. “It felt great but even better that the boys battled back and got the win.”
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.
“That one feels good,” said Bo Horvat. “The relentlessness and the character in this room that we battled back against a team like that, it’s not easy to do and I thought we played a heck of a 60 minutes tonight.”
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.
“My body felt better today,” said Edler. “That’s always nice, when you have your legs.”
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 Wednesday. “We’ve been pretty good all year at holding those leads so we can’t get frustrated about this one.”
Wednesday 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 real 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 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 Canucks are now off to Edmonton, where they’ll face the Oilers on Thursday. The Leafs will visit the Oilers on Saturday
NOTES: Vancouver defenceman Ben Hutton missed the game after injuring his foot by blocking a shot against the Vegas Golden Knights on Sunday. Canucks centre Ryan Spooner was out of the lineup with a groin injury. … Luke Schenn got his first point in a Canucks jersey, assisting on Eriksson’s goal. … Toronto’s Patrick Marleau has now played a full season’s worth of games – 82 – against the Canucks over his career.
© 2019 The Canadian Press