Horvat, Virtanen have 2 points apiece as Canucks pound Blues 5-1

Vancouver evens record at 17-17-4

Vancouver Canucks defenceman Erik Gudbranson (44) puts St. Louis Blues left wing Alexander Steen (20) into the boards during first period NHL action at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

VANCOUVER — Bo Horvat and Jake Virtanen each got a goal and an assist as the Vancouver Canucks beat the St. Louis Blues 5-1 on Thursday.

Adam Gaudette, Josh Leivo and Loui Eriksson also scored for Vancouver (17-17-4), and Alex Edler registered a pair of assists.

Vladimir Tarasenko put up the lone goal for St. Louis (13-16-6).

Jake Allen stopped 24-of-28 shots for the Blues and Jacob Markstrom made 29 saves for the Canucks.

Markstrom kept an anaemic Vancouver squad in the game through a first period that saw St. Louis put 15 shots on net.

The crowd at Rogers Arena broke out into cheers of “Marky! Marky!” after the Canucks netminder stopped a rocket from Tyler Bozak during a Blues power play 17 minutes into the game.

Markstrom has now earned wins in his last six starts, a career high.

Vancouver recovered from the scoreless first period with a power-play goal midway through the second after Blues left-winger David Perron was called for tripping.

Elias Pettersson sliced a beautiful pass to Horvat who was in front of the St. Louis net and got a snapshot off before Allen could get all the way across the crease.

Just 28 seconds later, some hard work by Gaudette added another point. The Canucks centre took a shot then crashed the net, collected his own rebound and poked it in past the Blues netminder.

St. Louis challenged the play, citing goalie interference, but the dispute was shot down after a video review.

The goal was the second of Gaudette’s NHL career.

Vancouver outshot St. Louis 14-3 in the second period and carried the momentum into the third.

Just over two minutes in, Leivo took a shot from behind the Blue’s goal-line. The puck hit Allen’s left shoulder and ricocheted into the net, putting the Canucks up 3-0.

Tarasenko answered for St. Louis, holding several Vancouver players off and shovelling a shot past Markstrom.

Virtanen added some insurance for the Canucks with eight-and-a-half minutes to go in the game, using a series of screens by his teammates to keep Allen from getting a full view of his heavy shot. Horvat registered an assist on the play.

Virtanen now has a career-high 11 goals this season. The right-winger was also credited with an assist when Eriksson scored on the empty net after Allen was pulled with five minutes left.

RELATED: Scrappy Canucks fall 5-2 to Lightning in spirited affair

The Canucks will wrap up a five-game homestand Saturday when they host the Winnipeg Jets.

The Blues are off to Calgary where they’ll battle the Flames on Saturday.

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St. Louis Blues goaltender Jake Allen (34) looks on as Vancouver Canucks center Bo Horvat (53) gets sent into the goalpost by St. Louis Blues left wing David Perron (57) during second period NHL action at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

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