By Associated Press - Thursday, January 21, 2021

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) - Bo Horvat scored the shootout winner and the Vancouver Canucks overcame Tyler Toffoli’s hat trick to beat the Montreal Canadiens 6-5 on Wednesday night.

Horvat put a shot between the legs of Montreal goalie Carey Price to make the Canucks winners in their home opener.

Vancouver’s captain details his thought process in the shootout.

“Basically close my eyes and shoot. I’m not thinking too much,” Horvat said.

“He’s obviously one of the best goaltenders in the world, so I think you just try and pick your spot. And thankfully it went in.”

Horvat and Brock Boeser each finished with two goals and an assist for Vancouver in regulation. Tyler Motte also scored and J.T. Miller had three assists.

“When we got one, it just felt like the flood gates were going to open and then we got a few more,” Boeser said. “It was huge to get that going.”

Canucks goalie Braden Holtby stopped 31 shots in regulation and overtime.

Carey Price had 23 saves for the Canadiens, who are unbeaten in regulation so far this season.

In addition to Toffoli’s scoring, Jesper Kotkaniemi had a goal and an assist and Brendan Gallagher scored his first of the season.

Boeser forced overtime 16:51 into the third period, blasting a snap shot past Price for his second goal of the game.

Toffoli had put the Canadiens up by one 32 seconds earlier, deflecting in a shot by Jeff Petry.

Toffoli spent the end of last season in Vancouver after the Canucks acquired him from the Los Angeles Kings at the trade deadline. He had 10 points (six goals, four assists) in 10 regular-season appearances for Vancouver, then signed a $4.2 million, four-year deal with Montreal as a free agent.

“I’m not gonna lie, I don’t really care who scores the goals, I just want to win games,” Toffoli said. “We had the opportunities to win and hold on to it, so it’s unfortunate.”

Canadiens coach Claude Julien said his players spent more time in the penalty box than he would have liked.

“We didn’t lose the game because of dumb penalties. We lost it in a shootout,” he said. “But at the same time, I’ve said it many times already: We need to be a little bit more disciplined in those situations because besides maybe (Brett) Kulak’s penalty, every other one of them were well deserved and that’s on us.”

NOTES: Wednesday’s game marked the first the Canucks played in Vancouver in 316 days. … Midway through the second period, a video on the big screen over center ice read “make some noise,” challenging the upper bowl to compete with the lower bowl as both sat empty. … Canucks defenseman Jalen Chatfield made his NHL debut. The 24-year-old from Ypsilanti, Michigan, went undrafted before signing as a free agent with Vancouver in March 2017.


Canadiens: Rematch with the Canucks in Vancouver on Thursday and Saturday before hosting the Calgary Flames for a Thursday-Saturday set next week.

Canucks: Host the Canadiens in the second game of a three-game set Thursday with the finale on Saturday. Then, host Ottawa for three games next Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.


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