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Canucks edge Canadiens in shootout after wild game

Bo Horvat scored twice in a three-point game and netted the shootout winner as the Vancouver Canucks claimed their home opener by a 6-5 count over the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday night.

Braden Holtby made 31 saves for the Canucks, who snapped a three-game losing streak with a win that saw them blow four leads and then tie the game late before prevailing. Brock Boeser added two goals and an assist for Vancouver, Tyler Motte contributed a goal and J.T. Miller collected three assists.

Tyler Toffoli’s hat trick wasn’t enough for the Canadiens, who also got a goal and an assist from Jesperi Kotkaniemi and a goal from Brendan Gallagher. Montreal goalie Carey Price stopped 23 shots.

The Canucks and Canadiens meet again Thursday and Saturday in Vancouver.

Horvat opened the scoring with his team’s first power-play goal of the season 11:07 into the clash, a one-timer from the high slot. The Canucks had been 0-for-16 on the man advantage.

Toffoli, who joined the Canadiens as a free agent after finishing last season in Vancouver, scored his first of the night 97 seconds into the second period to tie the game.

Motte gave the hosts their second lead with a five-hole shot at the 4:25 mark of the middle frame. Toffoli netted his second of the game 62 second later with an easy redirect of a Nick Suzuki pass on a power play.

Boeser converted a backhander on the rebound for a man-advantage marker at 11:13 of the second period to give Vancouver a third lead.

With 95 seconds left in the second period, Gallagher joined Tomas Tatar on an odd-man rush and redirected the crossing pass into the net to make it a 3-3 game.

Horvat netted his team’s third power-play goal of the game three minutes into the third period, a goal eerily similar to his first of the night, but Kotkaniemi slapped a loose puck from the slot home to tie the score for the fourth time at 10:14.

The back-and-forth didn’t end there. Toffoli completed the hat trick with a deflection with 3:41 remaining in regulation to give Montreal a lead, but Boeser replied 32 seconds later with a slapper from the slot to force extra time and cap a three-point game.

The Canucks took a hit on the blue line, however, as veteran defenseman Alexander Elder left the game early in the second period and didn’t return.

–Field Level Media

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