Vancouver Canucks’ Bo Horvat prepares to take a faceoff during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Toronto Maple Leafs, in Vancouver on Sunday, April 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Vancouver Canucks’ Bo Horvat prepares to take a faceoff during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Toronto Maple Leafs, in Vancouver on Sunday, April 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Horvat sparks Canucks to 3-2 OT win over Leafs in return from COVID outbreak

Vancouver was playing first game since March 24

The Vancouver Canucks made a splash in their return from a COVID-19 outbreak Sunday, edging the No. 1 Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2 in overtime.

Captain Bo Horvat snapped in the game-winner 1:19 into the extra frame for his second goal of the game. He also registered an assist on the night.

Nils Hoglander also scored and notched a helper in regulation for the host Canucks (16-20-3), who were playing their first game since March 24.

William Nylander had a goal and an assist for the Leafs (29-12-4), while Auston Matthews added a goal in his return from a nagging wrist injury and John Tavares contributed a pair of assists.

Jack Campbell stopped 21-of-24 shots for Toronto and Vancouver got a solid 37-save performance from Braden Holtby.

The Leafs remain atop the all-Canadian North Division and hold a 4-2 edge in the season series with three games to go.

The Canucks suffered the NHL’s worst COVID-19 outbreak when the P. 1 variant of the virus swept through the team late last month.

Twenty-one players and four coaches tested positive for the virus, one other player was deemed a close contact, and another received a false positive result. Family members — including one player’s pregnant wife — also fell ill.

No Canucks players remained on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list Sunday. Nineteen were on the list at the height of the outbreak.

But some of Vancouver’s regular starters remained out of the lineup, including netminder Thatcher Demko, defenceman Nate Schmidt, and forwards Tyler Motte and Jake Virtanen.

Toronto nearly sealed the game in the dying seconds of regulation.

Matthews dished a short pass to Mitch Marner in tight and the right-winger sailed a shot off the crossbar and post with about 20 seconds left on the clock. The goal was waved off on the ice but went to a video review.

The Leafs held a 2-1 lead going into the third period but Hoglander tied it up at 12:03.

Defenceman Jalen Chatfield sliced Hoglander a crisp pass and the rookie popped it in for his eighth of the year.

Chatfield’s assist on the play was his first NHL point.

READ MORE: Canucks’ return to ice postponed again after players voice COVID health concerns

Hoglander celebrated with a big fist pump and Holtby came out of his net to join the celebratory glove taps at the Canucks’ bench.

With just under five minutes to go, it briefly appeared as though Vancouver had taken the lead when forward Jayce Hawryluk rang a shot off the crossbar. He celebrated as though the puck had gone in but it was quickly waved off by the officials and the play continued.

A nasty hit 10 minutes into the middle frame saw both sides lose a key piece.

Canucks defenceman Alex Edler took out Zach Hyman in front of the Leafs’ bench. The left-winger dropped hard to the ice and stayed down for several minutes before the play ended and a trainer came to his aide. Hyman went directly to the locker room and did not return to the game.

The Leafs’ bench vocally expressed their displeasure with the play and it was reviewed, with officials determining Edler had committed a knee-on-knee hit. He was handed a five-minute major and a game misconduct.

Holtby kept the Canucks in the game during the ensuing penalty, at one point going from post to post to make a diving glove stop on Alex Galchenyuk.

Toronto finally beat the netminder with 19 seconds left in the man advantage. Matthews collected a pass from Nylander as he powered to the net and chipped it up over Holtby’s shoulder, hitting the crossbar on the way in.

It was the star centre’s league-leading 33rd goal of the season.

The Canucks responded just 86 seconds later.

Horvat streaked into the Leafs’ zone and unleashed a blast from the right faceoff dot, slashing Toronto’s lead to 2-1 with his 15th goal of the year.

The Leafs took an early lead Sunday following a bobbled Canucks pass in the neutral zone.

The puck ricocheted off Brock Boeser’s stick and was quickly gobbled up by Tavares for an odd-man rush the other way. Tavares dishes it to Nylander, who ripped a shot past Holtby to open the scoring 3:45 into the first.

The goal was Nylander’s 14th of the season and the 100th of his NHL career. The 24-year-old right-winger returned to the lineup Sunday after missing five games due to COVID-19 protocols.

The Leafs and Canucks will meet again in Vancouver on Tuesday.

NOTES: Jimmy Vesey and Travis Boyd played their first games against Toronto since being waived by the Leafs last month. … Left-winger Tanner Pearson returned to Vancouver’s lineup after suffering a leg injury on March 17. … Before puck drop, the Canucks celebrated head equipment manager Pat O’Neill who was overseeing his 3,000th game. The team played a video with congratulatory messages from his daughters and a number of former Canucks, including Daniel and Henrik Sedin, Markus Naslund, Trevor Linden and Pavel Bure. O’Neill is the fifth trainer in league history to achieve the milestone.

THE CANADIAN PRESS

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

CanuckshockeyNHLTorontoVancouver

Just Posted

Justin Bond’s Bahrain 1 took a team around a year to construct. It gets its name because the Sheik of Bahrain is a major sponsor of the team. / Photo courtesy of Justin Bond.
Mission dragracer wins Atlanta race, ousts back-to-back world champion

Justin Bond goes quarter-mile in 5.738-seconds, beating champ Stevie ‘Fast’ Jackson on home turf

Jamie and Erin O’Neill, who are renting a 107-year-old house at 45837 Knight Rd., are wanting to save it from the wrecking ball and move it when it comes time for the owners of the house to build a new house on the property. They are pictured here outside the home on Tuesday, May 11, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Chilliwack couple wants to save 107-year-old home from demolition, asking for community support

O’Neills have less than year to find new property, raise funds to move Knight Road house

Karl Eha showing off a fishing rod that was originally made in 1972. Patrick Penner photo.
Mission’s Eha Sports offering store credit for old fishing gear, plans to donate to poor Latin American children

Karl Eha recalls time as hungry kid in post-war Germany, says fishing kept him full

Mandarin Garden in Abbotsford had two event tents set up for outdoor dining. One of the tents, valued at more than $5,000, was stolen early Friday morning (May 14). (Submitted photo)
UPDATE: Dining tent stolen from Abbotsford restaurant is located

Owner says it would have cost more than $5,000 to replace the rented event tent

RCMP and search and rescue teams experienced a record-setting number of calls last summer and hope people will be better prepared heading outdoors in 2021. (RCMP photo)
RCMP and search and rescue teams ask public to plan ahead before an outdoor adventure

A lack of planning can get a person stuck in a dicey situation in the back-country

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

The Independent Investigations Office of BC (IIO) (File Photo)
Police watchdog investigating after man found dead in Surrey following a wellness check

IIO says officers ‘reportedly spoke to a man at the home before departing’

On Friday, May 14 at Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows, Michael Caan joined a very elite club of golfers who have shot under 60 (Instagram)
Crowds at English Bay were blasted with a large beam of light from an RCMP Air-1 helicopter on Friday, May 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marc Grandmaison
Police enlist RCMP helicopter to disperse thousands crowded on Vancouver beach

On Friday night, police were witness to ‘several thousand people staying well into the evening’

People shop in Chinatown in Vancouver on Friday, February 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver community leaders call for action following 717% rise in anti-Asian hate crimes

‘The alarming rise of anti-Asian hate in Canada and south of the border shows Asians have not been fully accepted in North America,’ says Carol Lee

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
Body of UBC professor found on Salt Spring Island, no foul play suspected

Sinikka Elliott taught sociology at the university

The first Black judge named to the BC Supreme Court, Selwyn Romilly, was handcuffed at 9:15 a.m. May 14 while walking along the seawall. (YouTube/Screen grab)
Police apologize after wrongly arresting B.C.’s first Black Supreme Court Justice

At 81 years old, the retired judge was handcuffed in public while out for a walk Friday morning

Surrey RCMP in the 4900-block of 148th Street, a short road just off of King George Boulevard, on May 15, 2021 after a male was allegedly assaulted with a “pipe-like” weapon that morning. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Surrey RCMP investigating after person reportedly injured with ‘pipe-like’ weapon

Police investigating incident in the 4900-block of 148th Street

Dr. Steve Beerman, of Nanaimo, shows off his Dr. David Bishop Gold Medal, awarded for distinguished medical service. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Queen presents Vancouver Island doctor with award for global drowning prevention

Dr. Steve Beerman receives Royal Life Saving Society’s King Edward VII Cup at virtual ceremony

Most Read