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Recap: Maple Leafs , Canucks
Date: December 18, 2010 7:00 PM EDT
  

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) - In a game that started slow and sloppy, the Vancouver Canucks saved their best for late and beat the Toronto Maple Leafs again.

Alex Burrows scored with 1:07 left in the first period, Jannik Hansen scored with 2:06 remaining in the second, and Christian Ehrhoff and Henrik Sedin scored in the final five minutes as Vancouver beat the Maple Leafs 4-1 on Saturday.

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``Obviously, it was a little sloppy at the beginning but it really doesn't matter at the end when we get the two points,' said Ehrhoff, whose goal with 5:03 left restored Vancouver's two-goal cushion. ``It kind of put the game away.'

Mikhail Grabovski made it 2-1 8:14 into the third when Roberto Luongo whiffed on his 30-foot shot with his glove.

``It was a close game score-wise most of it, but I thought we had control of the game,' Sedin said. ``I thought we had the play most of he time.'

Luongo finished with 27 saves, including a stop on an early breakaway by Phil Kessel, as the Canucks improved to 8-1-1 in their last 10 games.

A rare afternoon start in Vancouver was filled with sloppy play and early penalties. Toronto failed to convert a 5-on-3 power play that lasted 49 seconds midway through the first period. Luongo threw out his right pad to rob Kris Versteeg on a tap-in on the Maple Leafs' best chance.

``The save he made on the 5-on-3, it's one of those plays where the other team's top guys get confidence if they score there and he stopped it and it's still a tied game,' Sedin said.

Luongo said he saw Grabovski's shot but wasn't sure if it deflected off the stick of Canucks defenseman Alex Edler. Replays showed it didn't.

``If it didn't, I just probably blacked out for a second there,' Luongo said with a laugh.

Jonas Gustavsson started in place of Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who aggravated a groin injury Thursday in Calgary. Gustavsson finished with 25 saves for Toronto, which has lost eight straight to the Canucks since 2003.

``The bounces weren't with us,' Gustavsson said. ``A couple of unlucky bounces. Those bounces are maybe sometimes the bounces you need when you play away, especially against a good team like this.'

Vancouver opened the scoring after Kevin Bieksa's point shot hit a defenseman in front. Burrows, parked in front, spun around and swiped the bouncing puck in before Gustavsson could dive across.

Daniel Sedin assisted on the play to extend his point streak to 10 games. He has four goals and 10 assists in the NHL's second-longest active run.

The Canucks' No. 1-ranked power play failed to capitalize on a four-minute advantage midway through the second period. Gustavsson made three big saves behind the NHL's second-worst penalty-killing unit during that chance. He didn't have any chance when a pretty passing play by Jeff Tambellini and Ryan Kesler off a 3-on-2 rush left Hansen with an empty net late in the period.

``I was a couple of inches from stopping that, too,' Gustavsson said.

Henrik Sedin hit the post six minutes into the third after a similar play, and Grabovski closed the gap off a harmless-looking rush 2 1/2 minutes later with a long shot that tipped in off Luongo's glove.

Ehrhoff returned to the lineup after he missed three games because of vertigo that resulted when a puck hit him in the ear. He scored with a point shot that deflected in under Gustavsson.

``At the end of the day only one line scored again, Toronto coach Ron Wilson said. ``Other guys have got to do what they re paid to do which is score.'

NOTES: Toronto C Nazim Kadri, the No. 7 pick in the 2009 draft, was a healthy scratch. He played 16 games after being called up from the AHL. ... Toronto D Mike Komisarek returned after missing four games with a hand injury. D Keith Aulie was sent back to the AHL. ... Ehrhoff's injury was first diagnosed as a concussion. ... Canucks RW Aaron Volpatti, who played at Brown University, made his NHL debut opposite fellow Ivy Leaguer LW Tanner Glass, who went to Dartmouth College.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

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The Associated Press
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