Dorsett helps Canucks defeat Maple Leafs


Kevin Woodley – Correspondent

Derek Cain Photography


(ISN) – VANCOUVER — Derek Dorsett felt like he let his Vancouver Canucks teammates down and wanted to make up for it Saturday against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Dorsett did, with a career-high three points. He scored at the end of a penalty kill that turned the game early in the second period, and had two assists to help the Canucks to a 4-1 win at Rogers Arena.


Derek Cain Photography

On Thursday, Dorsett took a slashing penalty away from the play that led to the first goal in a 4-0 loss to the Los Angeles Kings.

“I felt bad about the penalty. I apologized to the guys in the locker room,” Dorsett said. “That’s what good teams do, they stick with you. The guys supported me and I wanted to make sure I came with a good effort.”

Dorsett, who is known more for an aggressive forecheck, scored his first goal in 24 games on a 2-on-1 rush just after a Canucks penalty expired 6:09 into the second period. Jannik Hansen scored 32 seconds later, and Vancouver (39-25-5) bounced back for their third win in four games.


Derek Cain Photography

“Any time you contribute offensively it’s a big boost,” Dorsett said of his sixth goal. “I understand my role on this team is to create energy and keep the opposing team honest.”

Chris Higgins opened the scoring, Shawn Matthias ended it into an empty net with 2:58 left, and Eddie Lack made 28 saves for the Canucks, who struggled against teams out of the Stanley Cup Playoff race lately. Vancouver lost 6-3 to the last-place the Buffalo Sabres on Feb. 26 and needed a late rally to earn a point before losing 3-2 in a shootout to the Arizona Coyotes on March 5.

“We found a way to fizzle away some points,” Hansen said. “It’s obviously something we can’t do.”


Derek Cain Photography

Vancouver led the Calgary Flames by one point for second place in the Pacific Division, with the Flames playing at the Colorado Avalanche later Saturday.

Toronto’s Phil Kessel scored on a penalty shot with 7:22 left to spoil Lack’s shutout, beating the goalie with a deke to the backhand after being hooked by Canucks captain Henrik Sedin on a breakaway.

Jonathan Bernier made 31 saves for the Maple Leafs (27-37-6), who have lost the first two games of a three-game road trip and have one win in their past 20 games on the road (1-17-2).


Derek Cain Photography

“Our effort, our compete, everything was a lot better than last night,” captain Dion Phaneuf said, referring to a 6-3 loss to the Flames on Friday. “We talked about how unacceptable our effort was last night and the compete level was not there. Tonight it was a lot better, but it’s disappointing to not come out of here with a point or two points.”

The game turned after Toronto center Tyler Bozak hit the crossbar on a rebound on a power play five minutes into the second period. The Maple Leafs, who gave up two shorthanded goals in the loss to the Flames, kept the Canucks pinned but bobbled a hard cross-ice pass late in the advantage. Vancouver broke out 2-on-1 and Dorsett beat Bernier with a far-side wrist shot over the glove.

“I misread the blade,” Bernier said. “He made a good shot, but that’s my guy. [Phaneuf] was there for the pass, but I have to get Dorsett.”

It wasn’t a shorthanded goal because the penalty ended while the rush was headed up ice, but Toronto coach Peter Horachek blamed the 21st-ranked power play, which finished 0-for-6, including a short 5-on-3.

“The power play instead of scoring gives up one, whether it’s a second after or not it’s still a shorthanded goal to me,” Horachek said. “You need your power play to get us back into that game.”

Hansen made it 3-0 on the next shift with a rebound when Bernier got caught out of his net after sliding right on a cross-ice pass and ending up under Canucks forward Ronalds Kenins, who appeared to be knocked into the goalie by a Toronto player.


Derek Cain Photography

“He told me I was outside my crease, but the guy was on top of me so I really couldn’t do much,” Bernier said. “It’s a tough call. It happens pretty quick, but I’d like that one back.”

The Maple Leafs had three straight power plays midway through the period, including the 25-second two-man advantage, but couldn’t beat Lack, who was making his 11th straight appearance with No. 1 goalie Ryan Miller injured.

“It was a lot of penalties, a couple too many,” Lack said. “The team did a good job killing them and scored a couple big goals.”

Lack made his best saves early, stopping a Leo Komarov breakaway 90 seconds in, Trevor Smith alone in tight with five minutes left in the first period, and Kessel off the rush with 1:15 left. Lack stopped Smith on a shorthanded breakaway with 8:29 left in the third period.

After several scoring chances at either end in the opening five minutes, Vancouver took a 1-0 lead with 3:16 left in the first period. Center Brad Richardson, playing his first game since mid-January returning from a foot injury, got the puck behind the Toronto net at the end of a good cycle and passed out front to Higgins, who was back after missing three games with a lower-body injury. Higgins was cutting into the slot behind defenseman Morgan Reilly and one-touched the pass over Bernier’s blocker on the far side.

The Canucks had four regulars return from injury, including top-four defenseman Bieksa and checking forward Richardson, who each was out more than 20 games.

“If we can get guys rolling, spreading out the ice time has been a key part of our success,” Hansen said. “If we have four lines that can play, it takes a load off a lot of other guys.”

Canucks forward Alexandre Burrows was a late scratch with an undisclosed injury, and top-line right wing Zack Kassian was given a 10-minute and game misconduct after knocking down a linesman during an altercation with Phaneuf.

Toronto center Nazem Kadri returned to the lineup after missing three games for disciplinary reasons.

“You’d rather be playing than not,” Kadri said. “It felt good to be out there. It wasn’t the outcome we wanted, but it felt like we did a lot of positive things.”

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