Vancouver Canucks’ J.T. Miller (9) scores the only goal of the shootout against New York Islanders goalie Semyon Varlamov, of Russia, during an NHL hockey game in Vancouver, on Tuesday, March 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Miller scores shootout winner as Canucks edge Islanders 5-4

Vancouver back in wild card spot in tight NHL Western Conference

VANCOUVER — J.T. Miller scored the only goal in the shootout as the Vancouver Canucks defeated the New York Islanders 5-4 Tuesday to crawl back into a wild card playoff spot in the tight NHL Western Conference.

Miller scored on a wristshot from the faceoff circle.

Tyler Toffoli had a goal and an assist for the Canucks (36-27-6), who won for the second time in seven games.

Adam Gaudette, Zack MacEwen and Bo Horvart, on the power play, also scored for Vancouver. Defenceman Alex Edler had two assists to give him 401 NHL points.

Brock Nelson had a pair of goals for the Islanders (35-23-10), who continue a season-long seven-game winless streak (0-4-3). Andrew Ladd and Jordan Eberle also scored for New York while Derick Brassard had two assists.

After giving up an early lead, New York battled back to tie the game three times.

The win gives the Canucks 78 points and moves them into a tie with Winnipeg and Nashville for the two wild card playoff spots in the West.

The Islanders have 80 points and remain one point behind Carolina and Columbus for the final two wild card spots in the East.

Canuck goaltender Thatcher Demko, who had a career-high 45 saves, came up big several times. He stopped Matthew Barzal and Eberle during an Islanders’ five-on-three power-play in the first period. In the second he got a pad on a Barzal shot on a two-on-one.

New York goalie Semyon Varlamov stopped 30 shots.

Nelson tied the game at 4:32 of the third when he collected a loose puck and batted it past Demko. His second goal of the night came just two seconds after the Canucks had killed a penalty.

Vancouver scored late in the second period for a 4-3 lead after the teams were tied 2-2 after 20 minutes.

MacEwen put the Canucks up 3-2 at 2:14 of the second when he tipped an Edler shot past Varlamov. It was MacEwan’s third goal in three games.

Nelson tied the game at 17:00 when he got behind the Vancouver defence and beat Demko with a backhand on the short side.

Horvat gave Vancouver the lead again on a power play with 2:09 remaining. He took a Toffoli pass from behind the goal line and shot the puck through Varlamov.

The teams combined for three goals in the first 2:41 of the opening period.

Just 96 second had ticked off the clock when Ladd tipped in a Josh Bailey shot.

Vancouver struck just 21 seconds later when Gaudette deflected a seeing-eye shot from Edler.

Vancouver went ahead at 2:41 when Toffoli took a cross-ice pass from Elias Pettersson and put a shot over Varlamov’s glove.

Eberle made it 2-2 with just 59 seconds remaining when he stickhandled through the Canuck defence and lifted a backhand past Demko.

READ MORE: Elvis returns to lead Blue Jackets to 2-1 triumph over Canucks

NOTES: Forward Brock Boeser returned to the Canucks lineup after missing 12 games with a fractured rib cartilage. … The return of Boeser resulted in Loui Eriksson being a healthy scratch. … Canuck goaltender Jacob Markstrom, who has missed eight games with a knee injury, skated Tuesday morning. … Ladd’s goal was his first since Oct. 30, 2018. He’s only played 21 games in that time due to injuries. … Islander defenceman Johnny Boychuk remains day to day with an eye injury.

Jim Morris, The Canadian Press

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