VANCOUVER — John Tavares scored two goals and added an assist at the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Vancouver Canucks 4-1 Tuesday night.
Auston Matthews and Zach Hyman, into an empty net, also scored for the Leafs (15-13-4) who have won the opening two matches of a four-game road trip. Mitch Marner and Justin Holl had two assists each.
Toronto is 6-3-0 since Sheldon Keefe replaced Mike Babcock as coach.
Josh Leivo scored for the Canucks (15-12-4), who saw a two-game win streak snapped. Vancouver goaltender Jacob Markstrom stopped 22 shots.
“I thought we played a heckuva game tonight, but they capitalized on their chances and we didn’t. Simple as that. Their goaltender was their best player tonight.” – Horvat
— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) December 11, 2019
Toronto goalie Frederik Andersen made 38 saves, including stopping Vancouver’s Brock Boeser on three breakaways, two of them in the third period.
Tavares scored his second goal at 14:58 of the third period, taking a Marner pass and ripping a shot into the upper corner of the net to make it 3-1.
Leivo, a former Maple Leaf, scored Vancouver’s goal at 11:14 of the third during a goal-mouth scramble. It was his seventh of the season and fourth in his last four games.
Tavares made a nice play on the game’s opening goal at 1:45 of the second period. The Leafs captain collected a puck off the boards behind the Canucks goal after a shot by Holl. He passed out front to an open Matthews, who scored his 19th of the season. The Leafs went ahead 2-0 with just 20 seconds left in the period when Tavares deflected a Cody Ceci shot past Markstrom.
The Canucks’ best scoring chance of the period came off a J.T Miller tip that a sliding Andersen got a piece of.
Vancouver’s Micheal Ferland earned some loud cheers when he flattened Toronto’s Alexander Kerfoot and Ceci with bruising hits on the same shift. Ferland, who was playing in just his second game after missing 17 with a concussion, played just one shift in the second period then left the game and didn’t return.
NOTES: There were “Go Leafs Go” chants at Rogers Arena before the game… Vancouver’s Brandon Sutter missed his 13th game with a groin injury despite practising Monday… With Markstrom back following his father’s funeral in Sweden, the Canucks sent goaltender Michael DiPietro to Utica of the American Hockey League on Monday… It was the sixth of 17 games on Tuesday nights this season for Toronto.
Jim Morris, The Canadian Press