Vancouver Canucks’ Troy Stecher (51) reaches for the puck in front of Florida Panthers’ Noel Acciari (55) during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Vancouver, on Monday October 28, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Miller nets 2 as Canucks lay 7-2 drubbing on Panthers

Vancouver boosts record to 7-3-1

VANCOUVER — J.T. Miller had a pair of goals, and the Vancouver Canucks scored five times in the first period on their way to a decisive 7-2 victory over the visiting Florida Panthers on Monday night.

The Canucks (7-3-1) got on the board less than two minutes into the first period and kept up an offensive pressure that overwhelmed the Panthers (5-3-4) for the much of the game.

Josh Leivo had a goal and an assist for Vancouver, while Brandon Sutter, Tim Schaller, Jake Virtanen and Brock Boeser also scored. Alex Edler and Elias Pettersson each notched three assists.

Brian Boyle and Mike Hoffman replied with goals for Florida. Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko made his fourth start of the season and stopped 27-of-29 shots for the win.

Coming off a 6-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday, the Panthers had hoped to give netminder Sergei Bobrovsky some rest during Monday’s contest.

Sam Montembeault started between the pipes for Florida but was replaced midway through the first period after allowing three goals on nine shots. Bobrovsky had four saves in 13:42 minutes before the 22-year-old returned for the second frame. Montembeault turned away a total of 26 shots on Monday.

Sutter and Micheal Ferland opened a dominant first period with a nice give-and-go sequence that ended with Sutter putting a wrist shot past Montembeault 1:14 into the game.

Schaller widened the Canucks lead 1:11 later, taking a pass from Jay Beagle down low and muscling a heavy shot into the Florida net.

Virtanen added another tally less than two minutes later, giving Vancouver a 3-0 advantage. The goal was right-winger’s third in three games.

Florida opted to replace Montembeault with Bobrovsky just 6:18 into the contest after Virtanen’s goal. Montembeault returned to start the second period and made some impressive stops, including a glove save on a big shot from Pettersson. The Panthers got on the board 8:09 into the period after Leivo turned the puck over in the Canucks zone where it was picked up by Jayce Hawryluk.

Hawryluk sent it over to Boyle and the centreman sent a rocket sailing past Demko, cutting Vancouver’s lead to 3-1.

But the Canucks weren’t finished in the period. Midway through the frame, Pettersson got a short pass off to Miller near the blue line, and Miller fired a wrist shot past Bobrovsky to tally the 100th goal of his NHL career. Vancouver closed out the period with a goal from Leivo, who popped a quick snap shot into the Florida net with less than 54 seconds left on the clock.

Boeser was the only Canucks forward to not register a point in the first 20 minutes of Monday’s game.

READ MORE: Capitals complete big comeback, beat Canucks 6-5 in shootout

The scoring derby slowed in the second frame until Edler was called for tripping Florida’s Evgenii Dadonov. Hoffman scored for the Panthers on the ensuing power play, blasting a laser from inside the face-off circle. The puck hit Demko’s water bottle at the back of the net, sending the orange cap flying.

Miller’s second goal of the night put the Canucks up by four once again with 29 seconds left in the second period. Boeser finally got on the score sheet 13:20 into the third period, placing a wrist shot in the top right corner of the Panthers net. Pettersson registered his third helper of the night on the play. He now has eight points (one goal and seven assists) in his last four games.

The Canucks will now head off on a three-game road swing through California, starting with a contest against the L.A. Kings on Wednesday. The Panthers will face the Avalanche in Denver the same night.

NOTES: Left-winger Loui Eriksson returned to the Canucks lineup after being a healthy scratch nine games in a row and assisted on Schaller’s first-period goal. … Monday’s loss snaps an eight-game point streak (4-0-4) for the Panthers.

THE CANADIAN PRESS

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