Pittsburgh Penguins’ Juuso Riikola, right, of Finland, checks Vancouver Canucks’ Tyler Motte during second period NHL hockey action in Vancouver, Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Potent power play pushes Canucks to 4-1 win over Penguins

Virtanen, Miller tally with man advantage for Vancouver

VANCOUVER — First-period power-play goals by Jake Virtanen and J.T. Miller sparked the Vancouver Canucks to a 4-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday at Rogers Arena.

Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser also scored for the Canucks (18-15-4), and Tyler Myers had two assists. Jake Guentzel replied for the Penguins (21-11-4).

Jacob Markstrom made 28 saves for Vancouver, while Matt Murray stopped 10 shots for Pittsburgh.

The game got off to a sluggish start, with 10:24 elapsing in the first period before Antoine Roussel recorded the game’s first shot on goal.

Soon after, the Canucks earned a long 5-on-3 power play. Dominik Simon received a double-minor for high-sticking Adam Gaudette, befire Brandon Tanev was whistled for holding 29 seconds later.

Miller appeared to give the Canucks the lead during the 5-on-3 power play, but the goal was called back due to a coach’s challenge for offside.

Virtanen eventually opened the scoring with 4:50 left in the first, on a slap shot from the left boards that beat Murray high to the glove side. With the Canucks still on the power play, Miller doubled Vancouver’s lead just 1:50 later, picking up his 14th of the year by tipping an Oscar Fantenberg shot over Murray’s glove.

Shots on goal were 5-0 for Vancouver at the end of the first period — the first time the Canucks held their opponents to no shots in a period since April 5, 2018.

READ MORE: Tanev nets OT winner as Canucks top Vegas 5-4 in OT

In the second, the Penguins dominated play, outshooting Vancouver 20-6. Guentzel’s goal came off a rebound with 4:32 left to play, while Gaudette was serving a high-sticking double minor.

Less than a minute later, the Canucks replied, with Pettersson roofing a rebound high over Murray’s glove after a shot by Tyler Myers. It was Pettersson’s 17th goal of the year and his fifth in his last six games.

In the third, the teams traded power-play chances before Boeser recorded his 13th of the year, converting a feed from Pettersson from behind the net. Vancouver finished the game 2-for-5 with the man advantage, while Pittsburgh was 1-for-5.

NOTES: Miller’s goal was his first in seven games, his longest stretch without scoring since he joined the Canucks. Now 2-1-0 on their homestand, Vancouver will host the Edmonton Oilers on Monday before breaking for Christmas. Saturday marked Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan’s 500th career game as an NHL head coach. Pittsburgh’s loss snapped a four-game winning streak. Their next game will be on Friday in Nashville. The Canucks held their annual ‘Jersey Off Our Backs’ night on Saturday.

Carol Schram, The Canadian Press

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