Kesler, Raymond carry Canucks past Maple Leafs
Ryan Kesler scored twice and Mason Raymond snapped a tie at 13:36 of the third period, sending the Vancouver Canucks to a 5-3 victory over the struggling Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night.
The go-ahead goal came on a shot Maple Leafs goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere probably would like to have back. Raymond beat him through the legs from the top of the circle, stretching Toronto’s losing streak to eight games (0-6-2).
Vancouver improved to 5-0-1 against Eastern Conference opponents with its second consecutive win overall. The Canucks went 13-5-0 against teams from the East last season.
Daniel Sedin and Dan Hamhuis also scored for Vancouver.
Fredrik Sjostrom, Phil Kessel and Mikhail Grabovski had goals for the Maple Leafs, who have just one victory in their last 12 games.
It was the most entertaining game of the season at Air Canada Centre. Both teams played with an edge and they took turns creating chances off the rush.
Sjostrom and Kessel put the Maple Leafs ahead 2-0 with goals just more than 3 minutes apart. Sjostrom tipped a shot between Roberto Luongo’s legs at 4:12 of the first period before Kessel scored his eighth of the season with a high wrist shot at 7:39.
Sedin got his team on the board shortly after, sliding a puck past Giguere while on a power play.
A pair of goals from Kesler made it 3-2 for Vancouver. He beat Giguere high at 17:01 before tipping Christian Ehrhoff’s point shot on a power play 56 seconds into the second period.
Grabovski’s third goal of the season tied it again. He cruised into the Canucks zone and beat Luongo high — giving the offensively challenged Maple Leafs three goals in a game for just the seventh time this season.
Nazem Kadri didn’t look out of place in his second NHL game. Toronto general manager Brian Burke called him up from the American Hockey League on Friday — admitting he would have waited if the team was playing better — and coach Ron Wilson put Kadri on a scoring unit with Nikolai Kulemin and Tyler Bozak.
Frustration is starting to set in for the Maple Leafs. After Hamhuis scored into an empty net to seal it, forward Kris Versteeg smashed his stick against the boards.