Vancouver Canucks: Home dominance of Maple Leafs continues

VANCOUVER, BC - DECEMBER 2: Jacob Markstrom
VANCOUVER, BC - DECEMBER 2: Jacob Markstrom /

With a thrilling 2-1 win on Saturday night, the Vancouver Canucks continued their impressive home dominance of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

It got way too close at the end, but the Vancouver Canucks were able to squeak out a 2-1 home win against the red-hot Auston Matthews-led Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night.

The Canucks are now 8-1-0 against Leafs, dating back to 2006. The only loss came on Feb. 13, 2016 — a 5-2 win for Toronto. That year, the Canucks finished as the third-worst team in the NHL — though the Leafs finished last and won the Matthews sweepstakes.

Vancouver played a well-rounded game, limiting the high-flying Leafs offence to one goal on 36 shots. Of course, Jacob Markstrom deserves most of the credit for holding off a late third period surge by Toronto. He made a handful of key saves to preserve the win and give this team its second consecutive win.

Markus Granlund and Alexander Edler became the latest Canucks to bust their slumps. The former scored his first goal since Nov. 18 against the St. Louis Blues, while Edler’s goal was his first on the season.

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Vancouver now sits at 13-10-4, which is good for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. They are just five points behind the Los Angeles Kings for first in the Pacific Division. It was just Vancouver’s fourth home win on the season, but it came against one of the NHL’s elite teams.

Following an ugly three-game losing streak on the east coast, the Canucks have bounced back with wins against the powerhouse Nashville Predators and Toronto Maple Leafs.

They’ve played well against many of the NHL’s top teams (with wins over the Maple Leafs, Kings, Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals among others). This shows just how well the Canucks are coming along in their rebuild.

The common logic is that you can’t read into the NHL standings until late November or early December. But the Canucks sit near the top of the West two months into the season, and it’s hard call it pure luck.

Brock Boeser is already a superstar, and the ‘Killer B’s Line’ has formed into one of the NHL’s most dynamic thus far. The Markstrom-Anders Nilsson tandem has been among the most consistent thus far. On top of that, Vancouver’s defence has held its ground for the most part, despite injuries to Edler, Chris Tanev and Troy Stecher.

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The Vancouver Canucks continued their home dominance against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday, and continue to show that this hot start is anything but lucky. If this latest win is an indication of anything, the playoffs could be much closer in sight than we expected.