|Date of game: 12/6/2014
Recap: Toronto vs. Vancouver
Toronto, ON (SportsNetwork.com) - Jake Gardiner and Richard Panik scored 45 seconds apart late in the first period and Jonathan Bernier made 44 saves, as Toronto raced out to a four-goal lead then held on to beat Vancouver, 5-2, from Air Canada Centre.
Peter Holland and Joffrey Lupul tallied early in the second to complete the burst and David Clarkson added a late marker for the Maple Leafs, who have won five of their last seven.
"You never want to lose back-to-back games," Bernier said. "We got an early lead and then we got into penalty trouble in the second and they had a few good scoring chances on the power play. I thought we played pretty good in the last 10 minutes of the third period."
Daniel Sedin and Christopher Tanev provided offense for the Canucks, who had recorded road wins against Pittsburgh and Washington but fell to 3-2 on their seven-game road trip.
Ryan Miller was pulled after giving up four goals on 14 shots in almost 26 minutes. Eddie Lack finished up by halting all 13 Toronto chances for the remainder of the contest.
"I just didn't make the saves the guys needed," Miller said. "[Bernier] played well. He was steady and saw the puck. A couple posts on the power play and maybe it's a little different game towards the end of the third. But he played well."
Vancouver halved its deficit at 8:45 of the third period, when Tanev's deflection of a Linden Vey offering slid behind Bernier for a 4-2 game.
The Canucks then hit two posts in the opening seconds of a power play after Panik was booked for interference and continued to buzz Bernier in hopes of getting back to a one-goal spread, but failed to score.
Lack was pulled for an extra attacker with just over 2 1/2 minutes remaining before Clarkson hit the empty net a short time later to seal the outcome.
The Leafs opened the scoring at 15:47 of the first period. Gardiner's quick pass from the right-wing boards, intended for Holland, instead changed direction off a Vancouver player and got past Miller.
Panik doubled the margin less than a minute later, using a stick fake to draw a Canucks defenseman and Miller out of position before sliding a backhander home.
Holland struck to make it 3-0 for the Leafs, beating Miller high over the right shoulder from the left circle at 4:16 of the second. Toronto went up by four on Lupul's marker only 1:23 later.
Daniel Sedin got one back for the Canucks with 4:39 to play in the stanza with an assist from brother Henrik.Game Notes
Vancouver completes its sojourn with games in Ottawa on Sunday and at Montreal
on Tuesday ... Toronto improved to 3-1-0 on its current five-game homestand
which concludes on Tuesday against Calgary ... Bernier's performance marked a
season high for saves, besting his 38-stop effort on Nov. 14 against
Pittsburgh in a 2-1 loss.